opened Sunday in the Stony Brook Village Center, giving foodies in Three Village a new retail experience to explore.
The store offers more than 40 specialty olive oils, olives, vinegars, and other products, all of which a customer can taste before making any purchases. In fact, it's encouraged. All the bottles on the shelves are actually empty, and the store employees fill them on the spot with a customer's selection.
"It's a new concept, so when people come in we have to explain it to them," said Mona Rossero, who owns the store along with her husband Bob. "When you pour it, you know it's fresh and it hasn't been sitting on the shelf."
The Rosseros' Stony Brook store is actually their third location. They opened their first store in Hickory, N.C., and they opened their second store in Huntington on Memorial Day weekend this year. The Crushed Olive occupies the storefront formerly known as Christopher Gallery, whose owner retired earlier this year.
A spokeswoman for the village center confirmed that its management contacted the Rosseros to gauge their interest in expanding to Stony Brook. It was empty exactly three days in September.
"We didn't need much persuasion," Mona Rossero said. "We pulled into the parking lot and said 'we'll take it.'"
Rossero said the store's most popular items include the Tuscan herb organic blend of olive oil and herbs, and a traditional balsamic vinegar aged up to 18 years. She said she plans on holding joint events with other businesses in the Village Center, such as and Lake Side Wine Emotions. They will offer gift baskets and gift certificates in time for the holiday shopping season.
The Crushed Olive is the fourth new business to open in the Stony Brook Village Center in the past year. The Men's Room barbershop opened in December, opened in May, and opened in August. Rossero said she and her husband were aware of the risk involved in opening a third location so quickly, especially amid a rough economy, but it was a chance they were willing to take.
Jeffrey Saelens, director of the Small Business Development Center at Stony Brook University, said it is unusual for small business owners to expand as rapidly as the Rosseros did.
But because of their product and location, he said, they will likely find success. Businesses like this one "do surprisingly well because they have a unique product that you can't find anywhere else," Saelens said.