Unique Store GM for a Unique Franchise

As the new General Manager for the Madison-Shorewood store, Lynn Olson’s background is tailor-made to fit perfectly into vomFASS’ unique family franchise.  Although busy acclimating to her new surroundings, she was kind enough to grant us a short interview.

Toni Jakovec:  Hello Lynn.  When exactly did you take over the General Manager position at the Shorewood store?

Lynn Olson:  Let’s see.  I started on September 15th.

TJ:  How did you become aware of vomFASS?

New GM, Lynn Olsen, with a new product favorite- Against the Grain Irish Single Grain Whiskey

New GM, Lynn Olsen, with a new product favorite-
Against the Grain Irish Single Grain Whiskey

LO: Kind of round-about actually.  Before I really knew about vomFASS I was visiting a friend and I noticed a unique bottle on her table.  It had a beautiful female shape and was called the “Eve” bottle.  I told her how much I liked the bottle and asked her where she got it.  She told me she got it at vomFASS, told me what a fun store it was and suggested that I should go there.  I did visit the store shortly thereafter.  By the time I saw the ad for the General Manager position, I was well aware of vomFASS.

 

TJ:  What intrigued you about the General Manager position?

LO: I am, by every definition of the word, a “foodie.”  I have always been a foodie, long before I knew what it meant.  I was introduced to natural and good eating when I left my hometown of Stoughton, Wisconsin and moved to Madison to go to school. Ever since then, I have been on quite a long journey discovering the savory side of life.  The vomFASS opportunity seemed like the perfect fit, especially with my previous experience.  Everyone I told that I was interviewing for this position encouraged me and agreed that it was the ideal job for me.  Although I was not as familiar with vomFASS at that time, I had a million questions during my interview process about the integrity and quality of the products.  Coming from an organic (food) background, I knew I would be getting educated questions from my customers and it was vital to me that I would be able to give honest and informed answers.  That concern quickly disappeared as I learned more about the level of integrity at vomFASS in both their commitment to sustainability and the very high quality of their products and production methods.

TJ: What background do you bring to vomFASS?

LO: I think it’s important for people to know that I grew up in a grocery store environment.  My God-parents owned the local grocery store in Stoughton and various members of my family all worked there.  I was very young when I learned the “back of the store” operations and I always really enjoyed the operations of the store.  I loved the people, the food and the general excitement around the shop.  In college I started out in Human Services and ended up in Advertising and Marketing.  Oddly enough, that led to studying Accounting.  Eventually, after I had my second son, I took a job at Whole Foods Market in Chicago.  I was put on a management track and became Accounting Manager; Bakery Manager; Cheese Department Manager and ultimately the Human Resources Manager.  In five years I had a lot of different roles at Whole Foods, and that’s the way they like to train their managers.  I flourished in that environment.

However, as much as I loved my job at Whole Foods, I was eager to leave hustle and bustle of Chicago and relocate back to Madison.  I let my brother know I was moving back and asked him to find out if there were any positions open at the Willy Street Co-op.  He called me back and said they were indeed looking for someone, and had the perfect job for me.  I was hired as the Member Services Manager, which morphed into the Director of Cooperative Services.  I began educating our owners on the importance of their food; interviewing farmers; writing about the farmers; making certain that customers questions and comments were being appropriately answered and doing a lot of public relations.  I became the ‘face’ of the co-op in the media, as well as managing staff of the cooking classes and educational outreach in the community room.  I also became active in their governance and interfacing with the board of directors.  I had a wonderful career at Willy Street, but I had done all I set to accomplish and it was time to move on.

 

I happened upon the position listing for vomFASS and I knew the fit was perfect.

TJ:  My goodness, that’s a very comprehensive background.  And I agree, you are extraordinarily well suited to this position.  When you’re not working, what are your hobbies and interests?

LO:  I think a great asset for a salesperson at vomFASS is a background in theater.  I have always been interested in theater, both in acting and comedy.  I am also an artist at heart and love oil painting.  I am especially drawn to the meditative side of artistic endeavors.  And as I mentioned before, I am an avid cook.  Although, I never use recipes and rarely make the same thing twice.  My household is largely vegetarian, plus some gluten-free issues, so I have become adept at following both dietary disciplines.  I love dining out and enjoy trying to recreate a favorite dish.

TJ:  Have you had a chance to discover your favorite vomFASS products yet?

LO:  I have so many favorites.  My first favorite was the Aceto Balsamico Di Famiglia.  I call it ‘heaven on a spoon.’  I love it on beets.  On goat cheese I use peppercorns in olive oil and a little garlic with a velvety finish of Di Famiglia….it’s making my mouth water just talking about it.  I really enjoy the Against the Grain Irish Single Grain Whiskey and I was intrigued to learn it is made with primarily the same ingredients as our American Bourbon Whiskey. I was pleasantly surprised to taste it with its crisp, clean corn whiskey. It’s amazing that you can actually taste the difference between Irish and American corn. I enjoy having customers taste the two together to appreciate the subtle differences.   I have become a great fan of the ‘Old Fasshioned’ using the Fernandez Brandy.  I also love the vomFASS Coconut Oil, in all applications, but especially when making raw truffles highlighted with the Raspberry Pearls.

TJ: I will bet you have a recipe for us…..right?

LO: Absolutely.

From Toni’s Kitchen

truffles-vfHere’s a mouth-watering recipe designed by General Manager Lynn Olson.  Truffles and pearls…..what’s not to like?

Lynn’s Raw Cocoa-Nut Truffles w/Raspberry Pearls

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup vomFASS Coconut Oil
  • 1 cup Pecans or Cashews
  • ¼ cup vomFASS Hazelnut Oil or vomFASS Irish Whiskey Liqueur
  • Dash vomFASS Pyramid salt
  • ¾ cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 jar vomFASS Raspberry Pearls

Preparation:

  1. Combine vomFASS Coconut Oil, nuts, vomFASS Hazelnut Oil (or Irish Whiskey Liqueur) and vomFASS Pyramid Salt in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes, or until mixture is solid enough to roll into balls.
  2. Roll truffle mixture into 1” balls, than roll each in cocoa powder to coat thoroughly. Make a slight depression with your finger in the top of each ball to place the pearls.
  3. Garnish top of truffle with 3-4 vomFASS Raspberry Pearls.

PRINT RECIPE

Disclaimer: This information is not intended as an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, a franchise. It is for information purposes only. Currently, the following states in the United States regulate the offer and sale of franchises: California, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. If you are a resident of one of these states, we will not offer you a franchise unless and until we have complied with applicable pre-sale registration and disclosure requirements in your jurisdiction.