Eric Alcorn, Brad Selby and Mike Romance vomFASS Ventura, CA
Like so many other vomFASS Franchise Partners, Eric Alcorn of vomFASS Ventura knew he’d become part of the unique franchise opportunity from his first encounter with the brand. One day, a colleague stopped by Alcorn’s office carrying a small package of sample oils and vinegars. Would Eric like to try something?
After one taste, Alcorn was hooked. “I don’t know what that is,” he said, “I want to become a part of it.”
At the time, Alcorn, a twenty-year healthcare and biotechnology administrator, was working at the University of Southern California School of Medicine. But he and his colleague, Brad Selby, would soon become enamored with the idea of opening their own vomFASS franchise store. The pair visited the flagship store in Madison, WI to participate in the Experience Day event hosted by the Franchise Team at vomFASS. “We loved the store setup, the product tastings, everything.”
But while Alcorn and Selby had plenty of administrative experience from their time in the medical sciences industry, they felt they lacked the expertise to successfully run a retail operation. Enter a third partner, Mike Romance, a thirty-year veteran of the retail operations.
“Mike was my next door neighbor when I was twelve years old,” said Alcorn. “After visiting Madison, Brad became interested in the concept as well.” With the trio fully formed, the partners divided the roles according to their unique competencies. As a longtime retail professional, Romance accepted primary responsibilities over day-to-day store operations, while Alcorn assumed ownership of all marketing and networking activities, with Selby providing creative and strategic support where necessary.
Additionally, the Franchise Team at vomFASS helped the Westlake Village partners accelerate their store opening. “The CEO and Director of Operations at vomFASS, came out to help with installation. The US vomFASS team helped with education, operations, and getting the point-of-sale system up and running. To get started was a very smooth process.”
Four years after opening their vomFASS store in Westlake Village they had a strong repeat customer-base, as well as the highest user rating on Yelp of any specialty foods store in town. “We had a huge cult following Westlake Village—a lot of general buzz, a large email subscriber base, and successful in-store events. Two years ago, the partners decided to move their store to Ventura, CA where there is even more foot traffic from customers in need of product refills and an added beach tourism factor.”
How has life changed for the Eric Alcorn and partners?
“If you’re passionate about vomFASS like we are, the store is just a really fun place to be. It’s great giving customers a tour of the store, especially if they’re seeing the store for the first time—they’re awestruck. Or, if they have been in the store before, they’re coming back because they love the products. It’s just a great place to meet new people.”
“You know, when we started, we were the only vomFASS store in California, so it was as though we were creating a completely new brand. But now, we have other stores starting to open in California—Claremont, the San Francisco Bay area, San Diego etc.—so we’re starting to build some real brand awareness. vomFASS is poised to see exponential growth that will make all of the ships rise with the tide.”