Friday, December 18, 2009

Oil & Vinegar was Just Featured in the Charlottesville Daily Progress; Finding a Niche in the Market

Finding a niche in the marketplace is something that businesses should always try to accomplish. Recently Charlottesville Oil & Vinegar Franchisees, Paul and Bridget Urmanski, were featured in the Charlottesville Daily Progress in an article about local businesses that have distinguished themselves in the marketplace and connected with consumers in a unique way. The article delves into the success that the Charlottesville Oil & Vinegar has had. Also, Charlottesville is an important part of our U.S. growth strategy, as we plan to develop additional Oil & Vinegar locations throughout Virginia and the east coast, using Charlottesville as our regional hub for development. To learn more about the store, here is a portion of the Daily Progress article, with a link to the online article as well:

CBJ: Area Firms Find Niche is Nice

Paul Urmanski, Jack O’Leary and Bridget Urmanski are co-owners of the Oil & Vinegar shop in the Barracks Road Shopping Center. “We have a lot of people come here because there is no place like it, and they bring their friends,” Bridget Urmanski said.

By Bryan McKenzie

Published: December 14, 2009

Small businesses serving small bases of customers in small markets may be the next big thing in retail’s future.

Niche stores targeting limited consumer markets and providing market-specific products and lots of customer service are weathering well the recent economic unpleasantness known as the great recession.

“Many entrepreneurs go into business serving a small segment of a larger market and that sort of niche marketing can be very effective, if you do it right,” said Robert Spekman, Tayloe Murphy professor of business at the University of Virginia Darden Graduate School of Business Administration. “When you compete with the big boys, whether it’s department stores, restaurants, jewelry or whatever market you’re in, their strengths are often their weakness.”

Major manufacturers and retailers most often seek to serve the maximum number of customers, Spekman said. That desire often leaves eddies and pools in the market that are underserved, under-represented or under-serviced.

“When larger companies try to address a larger market, they cannot focus with laser-like precision on any one part of the market that really wants service or a particular product,” Spekman said. “If you can find segments that are under-served, and you can service them very well, you can make money.”

For niche stores, a well-defined, limited customer base may be a strength. In the Oil & Vinegar store in the Barracks Road Shopping Center, the base is treated to broken bread and bowls of herbs drenched in olive oil that beckon beneath track lighting and shelves stocked with a multifarious array of oils.

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