Business Name: Frescolio Fine Oil and Vinegar Tasting Bar Website: www.frescolio.ca Established: June, 2013 Questions answered by: Chantal Hogue, General Manager
Can you please fully explain your business or product line?
Winnipeg’s first specialty store to feature a wide selection of gourmet extra-virgin olive oils and vinegars in a tasting-bar setting.
Our name comes from two Italian words – fresco (fresh) and olio (oil).
We pride ourselves on having the freshest oils possible and believe that cooking with the best ingredients should be easy and accessible.
In our stores, there are more than 60 stainless steel containers (“fustis”), each containing extra-virgin olive oil or balsamic vinegar. Our staff is available to pour you samples of the oils and vinegars. If you’ve always thought that one olive oil tasted pretty much like the next, you are in for an extraordinary and delightful surprise. The differences are remarkable.
When you purchase oil or vinegar in the store, we transfer the product from the fusti to a Frescolio bottle that is then tightly sealed. This on-site bulk-to-bottle approach is known to be effective in maintaining the product’s freshness.
With the Winnipeg local maker community continuing to grow, what is the most important thing you’d like potential customers of your company to know?
We’d love for Winnipeggers to know that we’re a family business that’s been in operation for nine years. We have multiple generations of foodies working together, who truly feel joy when a customer finds a new favourite flavour!
What inspired you to start your business?
We first became interested in the concept when we saw a similar store in Chicago in 2009. We were intrigued and impressed by the tasting bar. We had never before seen a tasting bar implemented specifically for oils and vinegars. More recently, we visited another store in Ottawa. By then, we were hooked by both the tasting bar approach and the quality of the products available. We were certain that Winnipeg’s ‘foodies’ would enjoy this approach and the superb oils & vinegars as much as we did.
What was the biggest struggle you’ve had to overcome?
We weren’t business people when we opened our three stores. When Lise & Michael (Mom and Dad) first opened the store, they still had full-time jobs. I’d say for everyone, the biggest struggle has been finding the balance between working hard at a business we’re passionate about, while also maintaining our sanity!
What has been your biggest success as a maker?
It’s so hard to just name one! I’d say just being in operation as long as we have and opening three stores, as a group of family & friends that still like each other, feels like a pretty big success.
Do you have any advice that you would pass on to someone hoping to start up their own business or product line?
Make sure it’s something you truly care about because you’ll be putting so much of yourself into it. It feels so worthwhile when it’s something really close to your heart.
Please share any upcoming events as well as the best place(s) for people to purchase your product!
The best places to purchase our products are at our three locations (where you can taste before you buy): 929 Corydon Ave, 1604 St Mary’s Rd, or 1530 Regent Ave. They can also be ordered anytime on www.frescolio.ca where we offer $5 delivery to any address within the Perimeter Highway!