SARATOGA SPRINGS —Clint and Barbara Braidwood, co-owners of Saratoga Olive Oil, said that the reason they started their business was because previously, they were both travelling pharmaceutical researchers, but that they wanted to settle down and raise a family.
Before even opening the store, both Clint and Barbara were interested in olive oil. Barbara said that “before we opened, when we travelled to Europe, we always sought out really fresh, great olive oil. So we’d always go to maybe a small town in Italy, ask the locals, and they’d say ‘don’t tell anyone, but if you go down that little path down there, knock at the third door on the right, you’re going to get the best olive oil.’ And then we’d wrap it up and bring it back home in our luggage and enjoy it.”
When they first opened the store in April 2011, Clint said that they worked out the math such that they needed to sell approximately 11 bottles of oil per day in order to make rent.
“Really, when we first started it was me, Barb, Chad, and our little girl,” Clint said, Chad being Clint’s brother and the store’s third co-owner. “It was crazy, it was an onslaught of people right off the bat, Barb had Sophia around her chest, and people still come over to this day saying ‘I remember seeing the baby here.’”
Barbara added “we had her in a bean bag behind the counter, and people thought she was a doll.”
Clint concluded, “so that was fun. It was family, totally, to begin with, and now we have over 30 employees.”
Now, they have three locations, the original on Broadway in Saratoga Springs that opened in 2011, one in Burlington which opened a year later, in 2012 and another in Lake Placid that opened in 2014.
Additionally, Barbara said that they are looking at opening up a Saratoga Olive Oil store in Moreau in early 2020, potentially as an outlet store, “for people to just come in and get things that are discounted.” She said the location is currently being renovated, but that “in the spring, 2020, it should be in full operation.”
Clint said that they essentially have two big pushes per year, one in the months building up to August for the racing season, and then from the end of August in to December to prepare for the holiday season.
“All of our elves are in the warehouse,” Barbara said. “We start in August doing fills of bottles and gift baskets, getting the little stocking stuffer bottles ready.”
Clint added, “it’s a big undertaking. We have no machinery, so everything is done by hand.”
He also said, “what we do is basically from March until July we prep for August, for the track, and once that prep’s done we move right into Christmas. So really there’s two huge seasons in Saratoga.”
Barbara added, “the locals really help in this area between the January, February, March months where it’s slow, so we appreciate our local following.”
Looking to the future, past the outlet store in Moreau, Clint said that they would love to open a store in New York City.
“We’d love to get our footprint down there,” he said. “We’re staring to get some plans going and trying to find the best way to tackle that large, incredible, huge city.”
He added, “we’d like to get our product down there, work with some Mom and Pops down there, and then maybe, eventually, get a brick and mortar down there.”
For more information, visit Saratoga Olive Oil’s website at www.saratogaoliveoil.com.