In Cary, a specialty store for oil and vinegar

02/17/2014 12:00 AM

02/13/2014 8:06 PM

Step into VOM FASS and you might be offered a spoonful of vinegar from a barrel on the store’s “wall of vinegars.” Stick around, and samples of specialty oils and fresh spices are sure to follow.

Each product is paired with an information card and suggested recipe.

“We want people to have an experience when they come in the door,” said store owner Julie Ginsler. “We want them to taste as much as they want and bring their family and friends.”

VOM FASS is German for “from the cask.” The aged vinegars are shipped to the store in casks and don’t see the light of day until they are dispensed to the customer.

The Waverly Place store, which opened in January, is the second franchise in North Carolina and the 16th in the country. The majority of VOM FASS stores are in Europe.

Elegant and traditional jars are available to fill. Once purchased, the jars can be brought back for refills. Customers are also welcome to bring their own bottles.

Ginsler, with a solid career as a scientist, had long wanted to have her own business. After much searching, she came across a franchise opportunity with VOM FASS and kept going back to it.

When she shared her plans with her husband, his response was, “You want to sell salad oil?”

All it took was one spoon tasting and he was on board.

“His eyes just popped,” Ginsler said.

She considered several sites before settling on the location for her store.

“I love what they have done in Waverly Place,” she said.

The shop’s location near Whisk, a specialty kitchen store, has also proved beneficial to both businesses.

“When people have company from out of town and take them to their favorite shops, I want to be one of those shops,” Ginsler said.

VOM FASS has become more than a job for Ginsler. “It has transformed my cooking,” she said. “I don’t have butter or vegetable oil at home anymore.”

Ginsler has taken care to hire employees who appreciate the products, and she encourages them to take home samples and share their experiences with the customers.

“The staff is experimenting like crazy,” she said.

Already starting to see repeat customers, Ginsler tells of one who returned with a bowl of chili he had made with VOM FASS products.

“Finding out what a customer needs and matching the products, that’s the fun part.

“It was scary leaving a scientific job with a nice salary, company car and benefits,” Ginsler said. “But I have not looked back once. I was ready for this.”

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