Olympia Olive Oil eyes Tacoma, other cities for new locations

Staff writerJune 12, 2013 

Olympia Olive Oil and Vinegars, the popular downtown retailer of olive oil, is planning to expand to other locations in Western Washington, including Thurston County. It already has opened a second location, in Puyallup.

Co-owner John Hoehne, who opened the business in January 2012 with Fred Berschauer, said Wednesday that they would like to open a location in Tacoma by September and then open two more stores early next year.

The locations of next year’s stores haven’t been determined, but they are considering West Seattle, Federal Way or Kent, Hoehne said.

In Tacoma, their first choice is to be on Sixth Avenue.

“If we can find the right spot at the right terms, we will be there this year,” he said.

Olympia Olive Oil opened at 321 Fourth Ave. E., right in the thick of last year’s early January snowstorm. Still, the business quickly developed an audience for its specialty olive oils — oils that are dispensed from stainless steel containers called “fusti” — with business growing 25 percent since then, Hoehne said.

They opened a store at South Hill Mall in Puyallup in November, but don’t plan to stay there, possibly moving to downtown Puyallup once the short-term lease has expired, he said.

Also under consideration is another store in Thurston County. The owners have looked at Hawks Prairie, both south and north of Interstate 5.

As for the flagship downtown store, it has worked out well, Hoehne said, and has played a role in re-energizing a once-troubled block downtown.

Downtown’s Fourth Avenue, between Adams Street and Franklin Street, used to be better known for congregating homeless people and street youths, but the tenor of the block has changed with the arrival of Olympia Olive Oil and neighboring businesses Gyro Spot and Classic Winemakers Micro Winery. Another change has been the transformation of the Cunningham Building from a dilapidated structure to mixed-use development. Classic Winemakers is the street-level tenant in the Cunningham Building. The building also has market-rate apartments upstairs.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403

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