An olive oil and balsamic vinegar store at the Shoppes at West Village in southwest Roanoke County has been sold.
Greg and Kristi Gerhart, owners of neighboring store Pino Gelato, recently purchased Oliveto from Elizabeth Merian. Merian opened the store two years ago.
The Gerharts had thought about opening a similar business years ago after visiting a store in Pinehurst, N.C., Kristi Gerhart said. They didn’t pursue the idea, but they did start using the oils and vinegars in their pizzas, sandwiches and breadsticks. When Oliveto opened, Pino Gelato began using its products.
Merian approached the Gerharts about purchasing the store, and the Gerharts saw the potential for Oliveto and Pino Gelato to grow together, Kristi Gerhart said. Her father, Lew Jamison, owns part of the shopping center.
“It’s a great business and a great product,” she said.
The Gerharts plan to cut an opening between the stores to encourage customers to browse while their food is being prepared at Pino Gelato.
Pino Gelato’s menu will also change. The Gerharts plan to add new items that will showcase Oliveto’s products, such as sandwich spreads.
Oliveto might also offer cooking classes using Pino Gelato’s kitchen, Gerhart said.
Shoppers at Oliveto will soon notice a refrigerated section holding gourmet cheeses, but little else will change, Gerhart said.
The Gerharts retained the store’s manager, Levi Buck, and plan to use the same distributors, Gerhart said.
Merian is a stay-at-home mom and foodie who opened the store after visiting a similar store in Maine. She decided to sell the business because she is building a house in Maine and said she needed to be free of the responsibility of running the business.
“I was really interested in finding someone to carry on the torch,” Merian said in an email. “I think Kristi will be great for that and even furthering the business.”
Also in the column, more changes are in store at Valley View Mall, and the North End Center in Blacksburg will have two new tenants early next year.