Deck the Shelves

♬ Deck the Shelves 

by the

vomFASS Elves


Getting ready for the rush of holiday shoppers is a challenge vomFASS shop owners look forward to all year long.  vomFASS stores transform into a wonderland of gifts and seasonal offerings.  Bedecked with festive boughs and bows, each shop becomes the gift buying haven for customers suffering from S.O.W. D. (Seasonal Over-Whelmed Disorder).  To see how vomFASS shops prepare for the holiday season, we spoke with Master Elf Wrangler, Tami Donisi at the Madison store.

Toni Jakovec:  Thanks for taking the time to talk with us today, Tami.  I know you are very busy getting ready for the holidays, so I’ll keep this short.

Tami Donisi:  Yes, we are busy, but I’m always happy to talk about vomFASS.

TJ:  How many seasonal employees do you hire?

TD:  It seems like every year is a little bit different from the one before regarding how many seasonal employees we hire. We keep growing, so the number of seasonal employees does as well. We hire both seasonal Production Staff (the famous Elves here in Madison) as well as Floor Staff.  It also seems like every year we get lucky and one of our seasonal staff stays on as a permanent employee.  To answer your question, we hire about six, give or take an Elf.

TJ:   Very good.  Tami, when do you start “ramping up” for the holidays and how do you find those elusive elves?

TD: We actually never stop talking about our holiday season, or our need to hire seasonal staff. We actively talk about the holidays in the summer months and are begin seriously looking in September for any ‘gem’ that we think would be perfect for the season. We talk to customers who say they would just love to work in the store, and ask those who are serious to bring in their resumes. We place ads in a number of publications, print and electronic, and have had great success with both. We truly have the most success though by word of mouth.  Our current staff tells someone they know, or customers who love our products and either want to work here themselves, or know someone who would.

October however, is when the magic starts….4th Quarter. We start training production staff as well as floor staff in the fine art of vomFASS!

TJ:  Excellent.  Sounds like you’ve done this once or twice before.

TD:  (laughing) Indeed I have.

TJ: In terms of gift sets, do you have a preset goal number that you prepare in advance?

TD:  Our goals here in Madison are different from other shops because we provide products for the vomFASS Webstore as well as the vomFASS Madison store.  However, in terms of the store, we always take our numbers from the year before and add the percentage of growth from the current year and, of course, hope for the best!  We sell a lot of Variety Sets, 3 piece Regional Sets, and 50 ml Regional Stacks. Every store will be different, and every store will continue to sell ALOT of products on the floor as well as their ‘grab and go’ gift sets.

Of course, there is always an element of uncertainty, as we can never know exactly what our customers are going to buy each year.  If, for example, we have holiday sets left over, we sell them on our only ‘Sale’ of the year.  We offer these sets at 30% off after the Holidays. In our experience we found that instead of starting out at a lower sale rate and gradually increasing the percentage off–it’s just easier for us to get customers in and sell the products right away.  Then we can start out fresh in the new year!

TJ:  What are your most popular selling sets during the holidays?

TD:  The popularity of gift sets can change from year to year.  Italy and France are consistently are best sellers.  The Classic Variety & Best of Sets are still on top year after year, followed closely by Infused Oils, Fruit Vinegars and the Extra Virgin Olive Oil sets.  However, the closer we get to the holidays, the happier our customers are just to have a wrapped package from vomFASS!

TJ:  Do you prepare gift baskets in advance?

TD:  This is the first year that I am preparing gift baskets in advance. We have made them to order in the past and it just got to be too hectic! We were always scrambling and never had enough of a choice out on the sales floor; but this year I vowed to change that and have a nice selection on the floor before Thanksgiving.  Fingers crossed! (But then, they’ll always sell after the holidays at the sale.)

TJ:  Thanks Tami.


Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and the mad rush to prepare a battery of traditional dishes is at hand.  Here’s a terrific Cranberry Apple Chutney that can be made in advance and will be a welcome addition to your festive table.



vomFASS Cranberry Apple Chutney

Makes 2 cups


2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored & chopped

1/2 cup Onion, chopped

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup vomFASS Cranberry Vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1 T. orange zest

1 T. ginger, grated

1/2 t. allspice

1 t. mustard seeds




Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan, stir well.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 40 minutes.  Remove cover and simmer over low heat to reduce excess liquid; let cool.  Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.


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.