We had the good fortune of connecting with Suzanne Davidson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Suzanne, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
A New Year is always full of new choices. If you care about making healthy choices you need to know the truth about olive oil. Just because the label on your bottle says “EVOO” doesn’t mean it is so. Let’s go over what makes your EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) truly the finest and healthiest option, but first, a bit about us. Oli+Ve is a tasting shop for olive oil and aged balsamics and was the first of its kind in the Atlanta area. We help customers from all walks of life with tastings of true EVOO, dish transforming balsamic vinegars, and take them on an educational journey of the authentic. After using our products on dishes at home, customers say things like “I can get my kids to eat salads now!” and “My husband will eat brussels sprouts!” (after swearing them off). After serving our customers for nearly 9 years now, we’ve gotten used to hearing how food lovers will never go back to what they were using before. Why? I’ll explain… EVOO “Myth” #1: “First Pressed/Cold Pressed” means high quality. The truth is that First Pressed/Cold Pressed is more of a marketing term. To be EVOO an oil must be: 1)Mechanically crushed only with no added heat or chemicals to force extraction… 2) Below 0.8% acidity at crush time. (Acidity level speaks to the condition of the fruit at crush. Insect damage, too much time between harvest and mill, bruising, these all raise the acidity level.)… 3) Must be of superior taste with no flaws EVOO “Myth” #2: It’s fresh if it’s not past the “Best By” date. Olive oil is a fresh fruit juice with a shelf life and you need to know the crush date to get a true understanding of how fresh your product is. We recommend that you consume your EVOO by 12-14 months from the crush date. This is the window where you can enjoy the finest taste and health benefits. Even a few months afterwards and these health boosting, flavorful properties go away. EVOO “Myth” #3: “Light” olive oil has less fat and calories. All oils have the same amount of fat and calories : 120 calories and 14 grams of fat (check the label). What has been done is the olive oil has been stripped of all the good stuff and is very light in flavor, taste and color. Your body needs fat to be healthy, so choose the healthiest – EVOO! Explaining the difference is one thing, but tasting it? That’s another… … We cater to the foodie, the cook, and the non-cook alike. With a twist of the wrist, you can create a home cooked meal with a dining out taste! We invite you to come Taste the Authentic and start your New Year off with healthy and tasty options.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
A tasting shop for oils and vinegars was not my idea but starting and growing a business was totally new! With no retail experience whatsoever (I was a stay- at- home Mom for 18 years) I drew from my background and upbringing along with what I learned by watching and listening to my brothers and husband (who was self-employed). I try to keep myself well versed about olive oil and balsamic vinegar, the product itself, the industry as a whole and any research that is being done. I would say that there are lots of younger people who are more savvy with marketing, technology and how to use it, and most of what I have learned in the business has just been learning from experience. The challenges were (and are) daily, but with figuring things out comes a sense of satisfaction and possibly a new skill. Each day has its own challenges and keeps me on my toes. I tell you what, I have come to a new appreciation and admiration for all those women who didn’t have a choice to stay home with their children but had to go to work and kept it all together. Maybe I’m old fashioned (I’m a bit older) but I was very thankful I got to stay home. With the amount of work I put into the business and my type personality of doing my best, I don’t think I could have juggled working and having a family, and something would suffer. So, this opportunity came at just the right time! I think with building a business there has been about every emotion that exists, from excitement to disappointment but day in and day out I am truly thankful and feel blessed that I am making it work and after 2020, I still exist!!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, first of all, my shop! We are not just a retail shop but an interactive experience that a lot of people have not experienced before. The restaurants on Canton Street are great because you can find just about every variety of food there is, plus the locally owned French restaurant on Alpharetta highway (Douceur de France) is wonderful. I love to be outdoors so I would definitely take them to the Boardwalk across from the Chattahoochee Nature Center and Vickery Creek where there is a really nice walking trail. For breakfast/brunch and coffee, Fellows Cafe on Green Street, where there is indoor and outdoor seating. It is very quaint and love the food! There is an art/jewelry shop on Canton (Raiford Gallery) that has some wonderful, locally made pieces and Judy (the owner) is a lot of fun and very creative!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
So many! My best friend who pointed me in the direction of an oil/vinegar tasting shop; my brothers who are and were entrepreneurs from an early age (starting with going house to house and collecting newsworthy information from neighbors, typing it up and then knocking on the same doors and selling it!). Their encouragement, support, and advice has been key! My mother who was a registered dietitian…she started us out on a healthy lifestyle with not only eating healthy (“you are what you eat!”) but lots of outdoor exercise as well! My Father, who taught, by example, honesty, quality work and the gift of laughter (something that helps keep you sane when running a business). And last, but not least, my three children. After becoming a widow they were so excited to see me start my own business and their support and guidance with technology has been so helpful. I enjoy the creative side of social media but keeping up and the technical side…not so enjoyable! Hahaha, they get so excited for me when I do something that they think is a “good job”. So, as you can see, there is not a someone but many!