VomFASS Franchise Boot Camp

Conti -small

By Toni Jakovec

Today I had the chance to talk with two of vomFASS’ very excited, very new franchisees, visiting the Madison store for training, before opening up the doors to their very own shops. Let’s meet Jean Brodnax-Martin and Melisa Conti.

Toni Jakovec: It was so nice to meet you both in the Madison store the other day. How long is the vomFASS training session?

Jean Brodnax-Martin: The training is 10 days.

TJ: Aside from the Madison store, were you able to tour the Yahara Bay distillery during your visit?

JBM: We did visit Yahara Bay and had a very informative tour. We got to taste a lot of wonderful products.

Melisa Conti: I really enjoyed the tour and I think it’s a great advantage to know where your products come from and how carefully they are made. The proprietor, Nick, was very knowledgeable about the processes. And then, of course, we got to the tasting, which is always a lot of fun. The Chai Tea Vodka is amazing. I also liked the Hot Pepper Vodka.

TJ: I know these training sessions cover a lot of territory. What did you focus on first and what did you learn?

MC: Learing about the products and working on the floor was extremely helpful. We learned about the variety of products that we have including the complete background of each item.

JBM: Product knowledge was the first major step of our training. What I found especially valuable was being able to taste all of the products out on the floor as we learned about them. I loved learning to pair the different flavors together.

The Martins on Tour at Yahara Bay Distillery


TJ: Did you come up with some favorite pairings?

JBM: We did. In fact, we came up with lots of favorites.

TJ: Anything you can remember?

JBM: I can. I took notes and have a whole list. Lemon Oil and Star Date Vinegar. Rosemary Oil with Raspberry Vinegar. Bear’s Garlic and Fig Chili Vinegar. Pumpkin Seed Oil with Pomegranate Vinegar. Hazelnut Oil and Honey Vinegar. Ginger Sesame Oil with Grape Ginger Lemon Vinegar. Don Carlos Oil with Vinagre Viejo. Basil Oil with Calamansi Vinegar. Pistachio Oil and Pear Vinegar.

TJ: Wow, that’s amazing. You really were paying attention. Was customer service also covered in training?

JBM: It was. We learned all the techniques for greeting customers; taking them through the design of the store; experiencing the products through ringing up the sale.

MC: What impressed me was the emphasis placed on customer service. Without a doubt, customer service is the most important facet of vomFASS. First greeting the customer and then really discovering their needs and interests.

TJ: Did your training cover inventory?

MC: They covered inventory methods including how to maintain a good working inventory.

JBM: Of course, when we conduct our first inventory, we will have the help of vomFASS’ Ben Meinen, who will arrive about a month after we open to help us “perfect” our shop.

TJ: Who trains you in the basic finances of running the shop?

JBM: Michelle Hasday went over all of the basic accounting for us. We got a terrific overview of the current system, although I understand a new POS system is in the works.

TJ: Aside from what we’ve covered, were there other things during training that you found especially edifying?

JBM: Yes, so very many things. Production for example. We learned how to make up sets. We learned opening and closing procedures. A lot of basic “nuts and bolts” knowledge that you can take home with you.

MC: I agree with Jean and would like to add how much I learned about this extraordinary product line. I still find it amazing that every time I taste a different product I think, “Wow, what stunning quality”, especially compared to what you usually get out in the market place. The opportunity vomFASS offers for tasting before you buy is such a phenomenal concept. The more I learn about vomFASS the more I love the store. The owners are so dedicated to their stores and the quality they are providing.

TJ: You two will make a perfect addition to the vomFASS family. Everyone, over these past months, I have interviewed for these newsletters shares your qualities of passion, excitment, enthusiasm and has a great work ethic!

TJ: Did you enjoy the training sessions, and what was your favorite aspect?

JBM: Oh, we did enjoy the training. Favorite part? That’s going to be hard to choose. I guess if I have to choose only one favorite, it would be working on the floor with customers and learning about the products.

MC: I agree completely. Working on the floor with the customers is my favorite part of this business.

TJ: Now that the training is behind you, and your store is about to open, do you feel fully prepared to take on this new challenge?

JBM: Oh, absolutely. I certaily feel more prepared than I did when I arrived in Madison. I have a much better understanding of what I need to accomplish before my shop opens. I feel much more confident about staffing the shop, what kind of staff I need and how many I will need. All and all, I feel considerably more equiped to handle the day to day operations of the store.

TJ: Where and when will your store open and who will be running it?

JBM: Our store is in The Point Shopping Center in Greenville, South Carolina. We plan to open the end of July. I will be running the store, with help from my husband Michael.

MC: And our store will be in the Waterfront, adjacent to the Fashion Square Mall, in Scottsdale, Arizona. We plan to open by the end of August or beginning of September. My husband, Louis, and I will be running the store, with help from our son and daughter, Natali and Reina.

TJ: Now for everyone’s favorite question…..do you have a favorite vomFASS product, and if so, how do you use it?

MC: What I love is the Mango Vinegar with the Chili Oil. Not only is it spectacular on salads, but also good for fish. And I can’t forget the Pumpkin Seed Oil on vanilla ice cream.

JBM: Oh goodness! I love the Don Carlos Extra Virgin Olive Oil paired with the Vinagre Viejo. I add a bit of Dijon mustard, a little garlic and some lime juice. It’s amazing.

TJ: Best of luck to both of you and thank you so very much for taking time out of your busy schedule.
Cooking Video: Porcini Tagliatelle with Beef Tips


Watch the cooking video on our vomFASS YouTube Channel!

Serves 4

• 14 oz. fillet of beef
• 2 cups vomFASS South Tyrol Porcini Tagliatelle
• 6 porcini mushrooms
• 1 cup fruit-driven red wine
• 2 cups cream
• 4 T. Pepone Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• vomFASS Pyramid Sea Salt & Pepper


1. Place the vomFASS South Tyrol Porcini Tagliatelle in boiling salted water for 5 minutes.
2. Cut the beef and mushrooms into thin strips.
3. Heat vomFASS Pepone Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a pan.
4. Brown the beef & mushroom strips in the oil.
5. Season the meat with vomFASS Pepper & deglaze with a splash of the fruit-driven red wine.
6. Let the beef brown, add a splash more of red wine and let it reduce.
7. Add cream. Allow to boil and reduce.
8. Add the tagliatelle to the sauce. Mix and finish cooking the tagliatelle in the sauce.
9. Serve the porcini tagliatelle and garnish as desired.
10. Serve hot!

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.