Georgia Transplants Bring New Flavor to Area with The Olive Vault
Tammy and David Bible moved to Franklin two and a half years ago after Tammy decided she simply couldn’t take the heat in Georgia any longer.
Tammy asked David to pick a state “anywhere north” where she could enjoy the cooler climate, and David, a lifelong Steelers fan, immediately jumped on the chance to choose Pennsylvania.
According to Tammy, they’d always enjoyed driving through the state before, so she set to work, using Google Earth and Google Street View, to pick a specific area to start looking for a new home.
When she came across Franklin, she knew she’d found somewhere special.
“I thought that’s the cutest looking town. It’s got the sidewalks that I want, it’s got the stores, the restaurants, and these parks – and oh my gosh, they do stuff, this is awesome,” Tammy told exploreClarion.com.
The couple decided to drive up for a weekend and discovered immediately that Franklin certainly does “do stuff,” as they arrived while AppleFest was in full swing.
“We had such a good time,” Tammy noted.
“We decided instantly this is where we’re moving. That was October of 2016, and by December of 2016, we were driving back to sign on a house that we bought.”
It’s a decision Tammy says they haven’t regretted for a moment.
“We just absolutely love it here and can’t imagine living anywhere else. It’s home. And, there’s just so much to do all the time, and they are always trying to make sure that the town stays relevant.”
Once the couple made the move to Franklin, they began discussing their next plan, which was to open a business of their own.
The question was: what kind of business?
Tammy said they were walking down the street one day, talking about possibilities, when she mentioned something about oil and vinegar, and lightning struck.
“He (David) said ‘that’s it, that’s what we should do.'”
Tammy was immediately on board with the idea.
“I love to cook, and I love to eat, and I like to experiment with lots of different things with trying out different things and seeing what goes well together.”
“I love it because I get to make all kinds of odd things. One of my favorite things I make is balsamic vinegar whipped cream, which is amazing. It’s delicious. I also love to do different things with lemonade and make different balsamic drinks.”
They found a location for their retail business at the Liberty Vault located at 1243 Liberty Street in Franklin and then began creating something unique to the area.
Currently, The Olive Vault offers extra virgin olive oil, a range of flavored olive oils, many flavored balsamic vinegars, and much more, from crackers, bread mixes, spreads, honey, and pastas to stuffed olives and even a few specialty items you won’t find many other places, like flavored salts and sugars and even olive leaf tea.
Their primary supplier for the oils and vinegars is Veronica Foods, out of California, but the balsamic vinegars actually come the entire way from Modena, Italy.
“It has to be made in Modena to actually be called a balsamic. Ours are all true, traditionally made balsamics,” Tammy noted.
“Everyone knows about apple cider vinegar being really good for you, and it is, but some of the same properties that apple cider vinegar has, the balsamics have, too. Balsamics are a little different than the apple cider vinegars, and mostly they’re a little sweeter, but that’s because the grape that they use is kind of a sweeter grape to start with. But, all of the antioxidants that grapes have, the same thing they say is healthy in a glass of wine, is in the balsamic vinegar.”
Likewise, their olive leaf tea, which is a fairly new product, travels quite a distance to get to Franklin, as it comes all the way from Australia.
According to Tammy, the olive leaves used in the tea have all the same healthy properties as olive oil, creating a very healthy tea, which also has a very mild flavor.
The Olive Vault had their official grand opening during Blues and BBQ weekend and has been going strong ever since. However, they aren’t done yet, according to Tammy.
“We would like to grow. Our bigger plans are that we’d love to be able to expand to have cooking demos and classes, which we think would be just so much fun to do.”
Tammy already gets a lot of cooking and baking practice in herself, making a wide variety of sample items for customers at the store.
“I made a raspberry vinegar pie a few weeks back which was such a big hit, people wanted to buy the pie,” she noted.
She went on to explain that balsamic vinegar whipped cream, which can be made from any of the flavored balsamics, can be used anywhere you would usually use whipped cream.
“The maple balsamic makes a fantastic whipped cream that you could just put on your pancakes, or bread pudding, or coffee. You could literally just eat it by itself.”
The positive reaction to the samples, as well as the type of specialized items they carry, are two of the reasons Tammy says she’d like to do cooking classes and demos.
“There’s really a lot you can do with this stuff, which is why the cooking classes and demos would be so awesome. It does nobody any good for someone to come in, taste things, then buy something and go home and have it sit in the cabinet until you think ‘what am I supposed to do with this again?’ If you get to try things and see how they’re made, then you know you can make that, and it’s money well spent.”
Along with the possibility of cooking demos and classes, the Bibles would also like to expand their line of products in the future, as well.
“One other thing we envision being able to have is a line of really good imported cheeses. We want to have the pepperonis and soppressata and capicola and some really yummy cheeses to make cheese trays,” Tammy said.
She noted she’s also had customers inquire about the possibility of having an olive bar at the business at some point in the future, and said it isn’t something she’d rule out.
“We’ve just got to grow a bit, and as we keep building and as our clients come in, we will listen to the things they are asking for.”
Whatever the future may bring to the business, one thing Tammy is sure of is that they have a great community behind them.
“There’s nobody that works harder than Franklin’s Retail Association for making sure that their stores are included and represented and then Jody over at our Chamber – I would dare anybody to tell me that there is somebody in any town anywhere that works harder than she does.”
“This is just the best town, with some of the best people that go out of their way to be there for the small businesses here. It’s lovely.”
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