Aviatra of the Week: Melanie Cedargren of The Spicy Olive!

What exactly is your business?

The Spicy Olive is a tasting emporium for the freshest olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars in the Cincinnati. You are invited to come to our beautiful stores to sample our 45+ balsamic vinegars and 20+ olive oils before choosing the ones to take home to enjoy. Our West Chester shop also has a wine cellar where one can also taste wines on Friday 4-7pm and Saturday 3-6pm. Our products taste great, such a big difference from olive oils and vinegars found elsewhere but they also have amazing health benefits! The olive oils, because of how fresh they are, contain health boosting biophenols that are anti inflammatory agents as well as full of anti oxidants. The balsamic vinegars contain probiotics and are low in sugar and calories but full of flavor!

How did you come up with your business idea?

After a family vacation to Europe, I was stunned at how delicious the olive oils in Italy were. It made me wonder what is in my olive oil bottle in the pantry, because the taste was so different I wondered if it really was olive oil. I started to research olive oil quality and when I began to see all the health benefits that were in fresh olive oil, I felt that people in Cincinnati deserved healthful, high quality olive oil. I saw an olive oil and vinegar store in another state and decided that life is too short to eat bad olive oil and here we are!

How did you find out about Aviatra?

I went through Bad Girl Ventures in 2012 to help me with the opening of the first Spicy Olive location.

What is your inspiration?

I love the healthfulness of our products . It is so rewarding for me to hear from customers that switched to our olive oils that they no longer need to take statin drugs for their cholesterol levels, or that their blood pressure has dropped or that they lost weight eating olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I also love creating new recipes to use our olive oils and vinegars. That creative part of the business I really enjoy. I also enjoy doing demo’s on TV. I also love being out in front of groups giving talks on the health benefits of olive oil and vinegars. I find it very rewarding to work with groups like The Pink Ribbon Girls, various hospital groups etc.

What has been your biggest accomplishment with your business so far?

We now have 3 locations, plus the wine store. It has been great to watch the business grow. The other thing that has been rewarding is that I am handling it all on my own. When we first started, I had 2 partners and my responsibility was to handle marketing. I bought my partners out after 15 months and have been running every aspect of the business since then. I was also very proud to be named SCORE Client of the Year (2015).

What was the most valuable thing you gained from your experience with Aviatra?

Confidence and connections! (I know that is 2 but both were very helpful)

What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting your business?

My biggest challenge was issues with my past partners.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

Continuing to watch The Spicy Olive grow.

Any advice for future Aviatras?

Be confident in yourself and trust your gut instincts. You know more and can do more than you realize!

Where can we keep up with you?