VOL. 128 | NO. 222 | Wednesday, November 13, 2013
The Mighty Olive Opens at Laurelwood
By Andy Meek
A new food and grocery business opening in the Laurelwood Collection this week will seek to draw in foodies and health-conscious shoppers with a distinctive product focus.
The concept behind The Mighty Olive is that of an artisan olive oil and vinegar market.
The Mighty Olive focuses on selling premium-quality olive oils and vinegars.
(Courtesy of Farmhouse)
The shop will focus on selling dozens of flavors of premium-quality olive oils and vinegars – a concept the husband-and-wife ownership team saw elsewhere, then “fell in love with it, did some research and got hooked.”
That’s according to Carol Braslow, a former corporate director of purchasing for Peabody Hotel Group. Braslow said she was looking to start a new chapter in her professional career, so she and her husband, Sam, decided to launch their new venture, which opened Tuesday, Nov. 12.
And it’s not just racks of olive oil in bottles that they’re selling. The Mighty Olive also will help customers with recipes and product pairings, and will facilitate cooking demonstrations, among other things.
“We know how healthy olive oil is, and the taste is unbelievable,” said Braslow, whose husband is a former owner of A. Schwab dry goods, the venerable Downtown Memphis store. “It makes cooking easy, you can put it on so many things, and it’s really tasty. A lot of the concept (behind The Mighty Olive) is also about pairing things together, so we’ll suggest things, we’ll give out recipes and do cooking demonstrations.”
The Braslows settled on Laurelwood as their destination after considering other possible locations and gravitating toward the idea of putting their store in “the center of Memphis.” The store, at 4615 Poplar Ave., also carries specialty items in addition to oils, including a line of bath products.
The Mighty Olive will offer specialty chocolate made with olive oil, as well as products such as salts, pasta, bath products and a variety of kitchen gadgets such as cheese boards.
“We’ll also be baking bread here, too,” Braslow said. “The main idea is for you to come here and taste things, and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to buy it.”
Braslow will draw on her extensive professional background to help make the business a success. As corporate director of purchasing for Peabody, she was responsible for things such as capital purchases and national contracts for hotels owned and managed by Peabody Hotel Group.
The New York native also worked on setting product standards in the company’s hotels and, in 2010, managed the purchasing related to a $450 million renovation and expansion of the Peabody Orlando hotel, a project that encompassed 1,641 guest rooms and 300,000 square feet of meeting space.
In 1999, the hotel company gave her its employee of the year award.
Olive oil has devoted fans, including Lionsgate Entertainment founder Frank Giustra, who reportedly carries several bottles in his luggage whenever he travels. According to a report earlier this year in The Vancouver Sun, Giustra’s interests now extend to agri-business, and he recently won an award for producing “the best organic, medium-blend olive oil in the world.”
“We’re going for premium-quality products here,” Braslow said of The Mighty Olive, adding that the 1,800-square-foot space was renovated extensively. “Olive oil will eventually replace a lot of other oils.”