vomFASS Flagship Franchise Location Version 1.2


Featured in articles in Entrepreneur magazine and Franchise Times, Justin Gibson has been making a national name for himself in the food and business world for 10 years. Gibson discovered vomFASS and its oils, vinegars, wines & spirits while studying in Giessen, Germany on an exchange program in graduate school. With previous restaurant experience in Madison and Milwaukee, WI, he knew right away this was the business he would start with his entrepreneurial, recently semi-retired father, David. The pair successfully opened vomFASS in Madison in December of 2007. They also secured the rights to franchise vomFASS in the U.S.; and, despite an economy in recession, grew it to more than 30 locations. Having proven the concept in the U.S., the parent company bought the stores and U.S. franchise rights back, providing the seed money for Gibson to make his next entrepreneurial dream a reality. In fall of 2017, he begin an extensive renovation to his original shop and expanded the concept to include delecTable, an innovative and interactive kitchen/bar concept. DelecTable offers unique, engaging and interactive cooking, dining and drinking experiences featuring vomFASS products.

Owner, Justin Gibson, overseeing remodeling of vomFASS University Ave.

We were able to chat with Mr. Gibson recently about the beautiful renovations and exciting direction the original vomFASS flagship location is pursuing.

Toni Jakovec: How long has this remodel been in the works?

Justin Gibson: Actually, it’s been about a year. It started out a bit slowly, but the entire project was completed in a year.

TJ: Were you involved with the vomFASS designers and architects for this remodel?

JG: Yes, all throughout the process.

TJ: Was this your design concept or was it a vomFASS design?

JG: The front of the house is definitely a German design. I had input, of course, and did some tweaking in deciding where certain things were positioned, but at the end of the day, Enver Paprikic is the expert and Germany has done all of the work considering the optimum design working with merchandisers and things like that, so the majority of the design is taken from the German template.

TJ: Did you need more employees now that the store is significantly larger?

JG: Yes, in fact I have already hired additional people.

TJ: Have you been getting some good exposure since this lovely renovation?

New black vomFASS fixtures transform the flagship store.

JG: Absolutely. There have been several stories in the local press. I hired a local free-lance public relations expert. The cost was certainly more reasonable than a larger firm and she has produced excellent results. I have been very hands-on in the PR process and contribute to the narrative, which has proved to be a very successful approach. This approach has allowed me to emphasize the aspects of the business that I am deeply familiar with and that is interesting to the local market, giving our PR a more personal touch as opposed to the standard “boiler plate” press release. I definitely recommend working with your PR agent, always personalizing your story and making it of more compelling interest to the public. Good PR can be more effective than paid advertising, when done well.

TJ: The delecTable idea is wonderful. Do you see this concept as the next evolutionary step in vomFASS?

JG: I think that would be very presumptuous and I certainly do not think that is necessarily the case. I am grateful that vomFASS valued my vision, passions and experience, encouraging me to pursue this idea which is a perfect fit for my vomFASS store.

TJ: I understand that you have many ambitious plans for delecTable, including regular dinners. Would you give us an idea what to expect?

JG: Yes. In fact, our Saturday night dinners are our weekly marquee event. Each dinner includes 4 or 5 courses. It is a fine dining affair, complete with drink pairings, reminiscent of the European style of dining. We begin with an aperitif, beginning with an appetizer, having wine with each course and a digestif with desserts. Allowing plenty of time to experience the meal and make the meal an experience in itself. Our customers have loved it, finding it engaging and unlike any other dining experience locally available.

A view from deleTable‘s Chef’s Table as Chef Kristin explains which vomFASS products went into the bruschetta about to be served.

TJ: I presume you emphasize vomFASS products in this exciting menus.

JG: Absolutely. Showcasing vomFASS products is certainly one of the most important aspects of these dinners. We highlight both the spirits and wines as well as the oils and vinegars. Of course, we have always found that having events in the store drives business. It’s not unlike someone visiting a winery or distillery….they always leave with purchases. Our delecTable events are along the same lines affording customers the opportunity to enjoy and experience our products in very practical and delicious applications, and then take some of those products home.

TJ: I notice that several local chefs have become associated with vomFASS events. Do you plan to include local chefs in our event planning?

Guest chefs use vomFASS products in their own restaurants as well.

JG: Absolutely. We have a long standing relationship with local chef Dave Heide. When this location was the corporate headquarters, we had our Experience Day visitors from all over the country, dine at Chef Heide’s restaurant. He would always prepare an excellent dinner featuring vomFASS products. Chef Heide will continue working with us and will kick off our Saturday night dinners. In addition to Chef Heide, we have been in contact with many of our local chefs who have expressed interest in participating in vomFASS events.

TJ: I visited your shop recently, and the renovations are stunning. Now that you can see the fruition of your concept, what is your favorite part of this newly designed shop?

JG: No question, my favorite part of this renovation is our customers’ reaction. They absolutely love the new look. In fact, it has reinforced the importance of remodeling your shop every ten years. A fresh look brings in new energy, boosts the customers experience and reignites passion in both the customers and staff. The freshness and beautiful look is sleek and modern, very functional and I’m excited to have the latest vomFASS design. It has proved to be a wonderful investment.

TJ: The original vomFASS shop design was rather quaint. It was certainly charming in an old world fashion, but this new design is markedly more sophisticated. I wonder, does this new sleek shop appearance made you re-think your marketing?

JG: Actually, that’s an interesting point. Right now, the marketing is the same. But, our corporate staff have definitely made great strides in revamping vomFASS marketing in general. I love the new cask logo that they’re using, focusing on the wonderful “from the cask” concept and the very apt “tasting room” description. I think the return to that original idea is the correct focus and dovetails nicely with the new shop look. The new marketing materials and ads with their powerful new imagery are very complimentary to this new shop design.

TJ: Thanks so much Justin for giving us this glimpse into your newly renovated and expanded shop. I am curious about one thing. How has the transition been from overseeing the macro US vomFASS franchising operation to the micro focus in on your own shop?

JG: I have always had a passion for running my own shop, but could not focus as much on it while running the franchise operation. I am relishing this opportunity to focus on this shop and to be back to growing my store and clientele. I love spending time with the customers and improving their vomFASS experience. I’m loving it. I brought vomFASS to the US, and this shop is the longest standing US franchisee, and I’m very proud of that. But I love being a retailer and continue to be excited by my customers reactions to our wonderful products, as well as their delight in the new look of the shop.

TJ: Now, for the question I ask everyone….what is your favorite vomFASS product?

JG: Oh, oh. I guess I would have to choose the Maletti Balsamico. It’s the product that first won me over. I had never tasted anything with that depth and complexity. When I first walked into the store, I was not interested in tasting any vinegar, but the Maletti changed my world perspective. Even though I came from fine dining restaurants, vomFASS products have really opened up my palate.

TJ: Thanks Justin.

 

Here’s a spectacular appetizer from the Shorewood store, highlighting one of the new tequilas as well as vomFASS Don Carlos Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Calamansi Vinegar.

Tequila Marinated Shrimp with Cantaloupe Salsa

Showcasing vomFASS products is one of the most important aspects of dinners at delecTable.

Ingredients for marinated shrimp:

  • ½ cup  vomFASS Reposado Tequila
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • 2 t. fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 t. Cajun or fajita seasoning blend
  • 2 t. kosher salt
  • 1 lb. shrimp (16-20 size)

Directions for marinated shrimp:

  1. Combine marinade ingredients and add to shrimp.  Allow to marinate for 1-3 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 400º.
  3. Arrange shrimp on parchment lined baking sheet. 
  4. Bake for 10 minutes.
  5. Arrange shrimp on appetizer plates & top with cantaloupe salsa.

Ingredients for cantaloupe salsa:

Directions for canatloupe salsa:

  1. Combine all ingredients and mix well. 
  2. Spoon over cooked shrimp.

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.