An upscale retailer specializing in European, Asian and Mediterranean oils, vinegars and spices will open its first North Carolina store in Independence Mall on Saturday.
Vom Fass, a German-based retailer that operates a division in Madison, Wis., plans to open its 19th U.S. store in Wilmington, with plans for an additional store in Cary, according to a news release.
The store is located at 3500 Oleander Drive, Unit A22 in the Sears concourse of the mall.
A formal grand opening is planned for late January or early February, officials said.
Vom Fass is a franchise that offers a “from the cask” customer experience, serving imported European oils, vinegars, spirits, wines and spices. Named one of the best franchises in Germany, the retailer has plans to increase its U.S. and international franchise base to nearly 300 locations, company officials said.
Kim Malutich and her husband, Dan, are the franchisee owners of Vom Fass' Wilmington location. Kim Malutich said she and her husband have always wanted to own their own business. Because she enjoys cooking, the couple decided to open a retail operation that would cater to other food lovers.
“We always thought about taking that entrepreneurial leap and doing something on our own,” she said Friday while making last minute preparations for the store’s opening. “I love to cook, entertain and try new recipes; my husband Dan has always encouraged me to get into something where my passion for food meets a professional opportunity.”
Wilmington’s Vom Fass will sell products such as black lava Hawaiian sea salt, avocado oil and grape and apple balsamic vinegars.
Kim Malutich, a Wilmington native, added that the store would also carry a variety of spices, rubs and natural wellness oils such as flax, black cumin and evening primrose.
“When a new customer walks into the store, they will be able to taste anything before they purchase,” she said. “This is truly going to be a retail experience that absorbs people.”
Kim Malutich said she chose Independence Mall because of its centralized location between the beach and the river. She added that she was also encouraged with the pending growth and redevelopment occurring along Oleander Drive, which area brokers have quipped as the “comeback corridor.”
“It has been so encouraging to see all the changes occurring along Oleander Drive and some of the plans in store at the mall,” she said. “We feel we are in a good location.”
Knowing that the Vom Fass name is new to the market, Kim Malutich said she is actively meeting with area chefs and local cooking groups to showcase her store’s offerings. She also plans to create corporate gift packages and events featuring Vom Fass products.
“We’re very excited,” she said. “Vom Fass is going to be a new retail experience for Wilmington that we can’t wait to share.”
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