Oasis of Good Taste in the Arizona Desert

The first Scottsdale, Arizona vomFASS has been quietly open since November 15, 2014. Owners Melisa and Louis Conti decided to open the store for their customer’s holiday gift giving convenience, but would delay the store’s gala grand opening until the spring of 2015. It was a wise decision. Even without a lavish opening, the Conti’s quickly established themselves in the community and gained a loyal customer following. Now that spring is here and the grand opening is behind them, it’s time to catch up with the Conti’s.

Louis & Melisa Conti at the Scottsdale Grand Opening

Toni Jakovec:  When did you have your Grand Opening?


Louis Conti:  Last weekend.


Melisa Conti:  Yes, from Friday, April 24th through Sunday, April 26th.


TJ:  Did you get any press coverage?


MC:  Yes we did.  Our local television station, Channel 3, came out to the store on Tuesday and did a live segment and then rebroadcast it at 5pm.


TJ:  Did you get any newspaper articles?


LC:  We got a great article on Saturday in the local newspaper, the Arizona Republic.


TJ:  That’s great coverage for a local shop opening.  Congratulations.  I’d love to hear about the events you held for the Grand Opening.


MC:  We had our VIP, invitation only, event on Friday night.  We sent invitations out as “messages in a bottle.”  The VIP list included local restaurateurs, hotel concierges, local media, our best customers, etc.  We also posted an opportunity on our Facebook page for the first 6 people to respond and they would be invited as “VIP’s.”  We served Il Bosco wood-fired pizza finished with some of our great vomFASS oils and vinegars.  We also offered a wonderful Italian wine.  We then finished the evening with some gelato topped with vomFASS products.


TJ:  What is a “message in a bottle”?


MC:  This is such a great idea.  We take one of our bottles, put an invitation in it and offer the invitee something special, for example, to bring in the bottle and fill it for free.


TJ:  That is a great idea.  What about Saturday?


MC:  We opened at 10am on Saturday and offered complimentary street tacos and barbecue paired with wines all day.  We offered craft cocktail clinics.  From 5 to 7pm there was a tequila and margarita tasting.  There was wonderful live guitar music throughout the day.


TJ:  That sounds like a lot of fun.  And then on Sunday….?


MC:  On Sunday we offered Brunch Bites and Bubbles.  This included typical brunch items made with vomFASS products and Prosecco flavored with vomFASS liqueurs.  On both Saturday and Sunday we had oil and vinegar demonstrations and “grab bag” giveaways.  Once a customer’s purchase reached a certain level they could reach into the “grab bag.”  Prizes included tasting parties; $5 off; $10 off; chocolates from a local chocolatier who uses our products or an empty bottle they could fill with a favorite oil or vinegar.

TJ:  You two really know how to put on a grand opening.  Who does the day-to-day at the store?


MC:  Of course, Louis comes into the store frequently, but I am running the store.


TJ:  Do you have other family members working in the store?


MC:  Yes, my son Natali works for us.  He’s twenty and a college student.  My daughter Reina, and eighteen year old high school student also works or us.


TJ:  What is the most surprising thing you have learned since opening your vomFASS shop?


MC:  I think the most surprising element is the importance of the teaching our customers about the products.  Especially in these area.  We have a lot of customers who tell us they don’t cook, but dine out mostly.  Customers come in and love the products, but don’t understand how to use them.  We realized how important it was for us to demonstrate the products and offer easy to make recipes weekly.  It’s also vital to get to know your clientele expectations in your area.


TJ:  Scottsdale is an important tourist spot.  Does your location also accommodate tourists?


MC:  We are definitely in a tourist destination area.  Fashion Square Mall is the spot for local and tourist shopping.  Our vomFASS shop is located directly across from Fashion Square.  We get visitors from all over the world.  A customer recently told me, “I was just at your store in the Philippines.”  We get customers from Czechoslovakia, Switzerland and lots of Canadian visitors.


TJ:  I think you and Louis are poised for success.  Now, I hope you’ll share one of those great grand opening recipes with us.


MC:  Absolutely!

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.