VomFASS Barrels into South Carolina

As we continue to celebrate vomFASS shops that opened in 2014, we caught up with Jeannie Brodnax-Martin.  Jeannie is the proud owner of the first South Carolina shop in Greenville.


Mike Martin jumps into vomFASS with both feet!

Toni Jakovec:  Hi Jeannie.  We haven’t talked since your last visit to Madison.  Congratulations on your new shop.  When did you open?


Jeannie Brodnax-Martin:  Thanks Toni.  We opened just after Labor Day and we are really enjoying everything.  Meeting lots of nice, wonderful people and seeing repeat customers already.


TJ:  You have the first South Carolina vomFASS shop.  Where is this exciting new store?


JBM:  We’re in the Point Shopping Center at 4 Market Point Drive, Suite F, Greenville, South Carolina.


TJ:  Are you surrounded by other “foodie” shops”


JBM:  The shopping center is anchored by Whole Foods.  At this point, it is just Whole Foods and vomFASS.  But it is a wonderful destination center with great restaurants and lots of foot traffic.


TJ:  I understand this is not the only shop you plan to open in South Carolina.


JBM:  That’s right.  My husband and I purchased the rights to all of South Carolina.  We had to work within the liquor laws here which will only allow 3 vomFASS shops, with liquor, in the entire state.  Are plans are to open next in Charleston and then finally in Hilton Head.  This will give us all of the vomFASS’ in South Carolina.


TJ:  Fabulous.  Do you have a time table on the other planned stores?


JBM:  We start exploring Charleston locations next month.  We hope to open in either the King Street or Mount Pleasant area.  Hilton Head will be our last store, and that is probably a couple of years away.


TJ:  What drew you to vomFASS in the very beginning?


JBM:  I love cooking and nothing is better than cooking with great ingredients.  As a 10 year breast cancer survivor, I am very health conscious.  I was looking for a business that would combine my passions and found vomFASS during my search.  A Mediterranean diet is very important to me and the vomFASS products are a perfect component.  I was drawn to the organic processes, the careful sourcing and the high quality.  In my opinion, vomFASS products are the best in the marketplace.  I looked at all the oil and vinegar companies and I believe vomFASS is head and shoulders above the competition.  I just wish I had more space to stock even more products.


TJ:  How large is your store?


JBM:  Because of the liquor laws in South Carolina, we have to have a “split” store; that is, food products in one half and liquor in the other.  We have a total of 1400 square feet, divided in half.


TJ:  Yes, there are a number of states that require this type of separation.  When that occurs, do you have to have two registers and everything?


JBM:  Indeed.  In our case, we essentially have 2 separate stores.  Our stores even have separate hours.  In South Carolina, liquor stores can only be open from 9am until 7pm, and must be closed on Sundays.  Most importantly, there must be no food on the spirit side.


TJ:  What challenges have you met being the first vomFASS in South Carolina?


JBM:  Complying with the state liquor laws was quite challenging.  Because vomFASS is new to South Carolina, every liquor product we sell had to be registered with the state.


TJ:  Now that those pesky legal hurdles have been jumped, are you enjoying yourself with your shiny new store?


JBM:  Yes I am.  I’m learning a lot, having a great time running the store.  We’re getting wonderful people to work here and planning a lot of events.  We had our first port and wine tasting for 25 people the other night.  My husband, Mike, has been learning about the products, especially the spirits.  In fact, Mike is now teaching whiskey classes and is having a great time.


TJ:  What’s the funniest thing that you have encountered so far?


JBM:  No question…..our Grand Opening.


TJ:  Oh no.


JBM:  We had hired a local public relations firm to help us with the Grand Opening.  In their zeal to incorporate our products at every opportunity, they had provided us with a grape vine instead of a ribbon for the “ribbon cutting” ceremony.  What no one knew was that the grape vine had a wire core.  No matter how much I tried, I could not cut through that vine!


TJ:  Great story.  What has been the greatest lesson you’ve learned since opening?


JBM:  I have been surprised by how little the public understands oils and vinegars, and how important a part education plays in our business.  Of course, some of our customers are very savvy, but most people need a little guidance to understand and incorporate our products into their lives.


TJ:  Do you enjoy teaching your customers?


JBM:  I really do.  Our customers come in happy and they leave happy.  I am proud to offer and teach people about these wonderful products.  I have not had one complaint.  I doubt there’s any business that has been open for 4 months that can say the same.


TJ:  It’s easy to see that you are quite a foodie.  Do you have a recipe you’d like to share with us?


JBM:  You know I do!


TJ:  Congratulations Jeannie and thanks for taking time for this interview.

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.