03 Jan

Lovers of olive oil can try before they buy

Medina now boasts an olive oil tasting emporium.

The Olive Tap opened Nov. 19 at 1031 N. Court St. and owner John Petrocelly said business has been “phenomenal.”

The store, in the Kmart plaza near Marc’s, carries extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tapanades and gift items, but what makes Petrocelly’s concept unique is customers actually can taste the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar before they purchase it.

He stores both in stainless steel fusties to preserve the taste, and after a customer decides what he or she likes, Petrocelly pours the product from the fusti into a glass bottle, corks it and seals it on the premises.

“Now you know exactly what you tasted is exactly what you’re going to take home,” he said.

Currently, Petrocelly has several types of olive oil from Spain, California, Greece and Tunisia.

“Right now, I don’t have anything from Italy because I couldn’t get anything fresh,” Petro-celly said.

He explained he chooses the olive oil based on what countries are processing it to ensure freshness, and six weeks from now, he’ll have a completely different selection.

“You won’t find anything like (this) in the grocery store,” Petrocelly said. “It’s very soft, very gentle. I want it to have a good shelf life. I don’t want people to buy olive oil, and three or four months later, it’s not good anymore.”

The olive oils range in price from $12.75 to $14.95 for a 12.7-ounce bottle. And the balsamic vinegars, all of which are from Modena, Italy, range in price from $11.25 to $14.95.

Petrocelly, a Medina resident for 25 years who has a background in manufacturing and marketing, said, “I wanted to start working for myself.”

His family used to own a restaurant in Pittsburgh, so before he opened The Olive Tap, he looked into purchasing a franchise.

However, he decided he “didn’t want to get back into the restaurant business again” because it’s “such a fickle market.”

His brother, Rick, planned to open an olive oil tasting emporium in Long Grove, Ill.

“I went up and looked at what he was doing and I said: ‘This is better than the restaurant business.’

“I wanted to do it because I feel this area is ready for it,” Petrocelly said. “I think the community will support a business like this once they know I’m here, once they come in and experience the product. I’ve got a really nice following so far.”

He related he’s not trying to compete with supermarkets.

“We’re trying to bring in things no else has,” Petrocelly said, and added in the future, he plans to carry truffle oil, grape seed oil and olives. In addition, he plans to have recipes of the month and customers of the month.

He said his No. 1 goal is making sure his customers have a “unique and fun experience.”

“We’re not going to try to sell you anything,” Petrocelly said. “What we’re going to do is present our product. If you like it and you buy it, great. If not, you still … have a good experience.”

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