It started with trips to Washington state.
The husband-wife duo of Ray Morin and Janet Cody, along with their daughter, Bailey, would visit a friend who introduced the family to amazing olive oils and balsamics, starting with fresh artisan bread and a delicious combo of blood orange olive oil and cranberry pear balsamic vinegar for dipping.
Morin and Cody were hooked.
The next day, they went out and checked a local olive oil and vinegar tasting room and made their first purchase, the first of many along with multiple trips to the store.
Morin, a journeyman carpenter, and Cody, an audiologist (hearing specialist), decided they needed to do something different.
They packed up and moved to Vernon and, in December 2013, opened Olive Us Oil and Vinegar Tasting Room on 30th Avenue.
“We wanted to add something interesting and exciting in downtown Vernon,” said Cody. “Initially, it was the incredible flavours that we fell in love with. Over time, we also became more educated about the truly outstanding quality, nutritional and health benefits of these fresh olive oils and aged vinegars. Fresh crushed extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is like fresh fruit juice in that it contains the most flavour and nutrients.”
The couple expanded and opened a second location in Lake Country in 2015, then headed north to the Shuswap and began a third store in Salmon Arm.
Being a carpenter allowed Morin to build all the display cases, giving each shop a rustic feel. And this past year, during the pandemic, the couple, like many differences, had to adjust to a different type of retail life.
They offered curbside service and, while doing so, Morin was able to work inside.
“We fitted the stores with barriers, moved stuff around, have a staff area and new stations,” said Morin. “On the customer side, we had full retail shopping with barriers in place so we were able to reopen.”
Olive Us is open five days a week in Vernon and Lake Country, and four times a week in Salmon Arm.
During the pandemic, the couples’ online store was a major hit, particularly over the Christmas holidays.
“We had no idea what to expect in Christmas season,” said Cody. “But what people said and have been saying throughout the pandemic is wanting to support local businesses. That’s been a huge help to us and we gratefully appreciate the support as we love our communities.”
At Olive Us, Cody and Morin’s goal is to create an enjoyable yet educational experience for the customer so they are empowered to make educated decisions for themselves and their families.
“We are thrilled to welcome you to Olive Us and love the opportunity to share these wonderful products so you can enjoy them as much as we do,” said Morin.