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Olive Oil Marketplace, the brainchild of Tim and Julie Marks, will mark its third anniversary here in July.
The business, located at 108 W. Third Street in Downtown Alton, has the finest quality 100 percent Extra Virgin Olive Oils from top Olive Farms worldwide, as well as Balsamic Vinegars, imported from Modena, Italy.
Olive Oil Marketplace offers much more than Olive Oil and Balsamics, but also offers a variety of pastas, seasonings and rubs, hot sauce and salsas, gourmet coffee and teas, kitchen gadgets and much more.
For Tim and Julie, the project started four years ago.
“We had been doing business with festivals and events and we decided to get into brick and mortar,” he said. “We both loved to cook, which is how this began. This has been exciting. We have evolved so much.”
Olive Oil Marketplace offers more than 60 oils and balsamics, but has expanded to so much more, Tim Meeks said.
“There is a different taste between our store and box stores,” he said. “We receive supplies from Italy, Spain, Greece and California, so things come here to Alton from all over the world.”
The supplies can be used to cook with, but also with ice creams, yogurts, to season-marinating.
“Our customers are great,” Tim Meeks said. “The customers keep coming back for more.”
On July 30, 31 and Aug. 1, Olive Oil Marketplace will offer a three-day sale with several deals for threes.
“We are doing this for customer appreciation,” Tim said. “We look forward to our customers coming. We wouldn’t be here without our customers.”
Julie describes herself as the face of Olive Oil Marketplace.
“I see the customers and also hear what they want,” she said. “Tim does more behind-the-scenes work. We were nervous at the beginning when we opened our own store. But I keep thinking back to the movie, “Field of Dreams” where they say “open the door and they will come.” The people in the community have come to us.
“Over the last three years, we have gotten to know a lot of the customers,” she said. “It is not a job for me; I am a people person. Many of my friends now are customers. We have laughed together and cried together and they keep coming back. The repeat business has kept us in business. Our customers come from as far away as Webster Groves, Mo., Peoria, Springfield, Jacksonville and much more.”
Anna Baumgartner and her daughter, Cathy Klucka, are frequent patrons. Molly Hamilton, Cathy’s daughter, also joined them for a shopping excursion this week.
The three wholeheartedly endorsed Olive Oil Marketplace saying the oils and balsamics are one of a kind. This is the only place in the area to find these kinds of items, they said.
Julie Meeks wanted to make sure patrons knew the oils and balsamics could be used for drips, breads, and more and also that Olive Oil Marketplace carries a strong line of gourmet coffee.
The business sells many gift baskets then wraps them up special for each customer. Olive Oil Marketplace has bridal registry and custom labeling services and also does a considerable amount of gift certificates.
“We can build someone their own gift basket, they just have to choose a dollar amount,” Julie said.
Tim Meeks said many doctors refer their patients to Olive Oil Marketplace because the items are health-conscious.
“What we have is wonderful for dieters and people with diabetes,” Tim Meeks said.
Julie Meeks said the interaction with customers is extremely important to her.
“A lot of people have never used these products before and ask us how to use it,” she said. “I will hold their hand through the whole process. You won’t get that anywhere else.”
Click below to see Olive Oil Marketplace video:
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