Shark Tank Alum The Oilerie Expanding, Rolling out NCR Silver
In 2014, Curt Campbell’s dream of a massive nationwide franchise expansion for The Oilerie hit stagnant waters on ABC’s “The Shark Tank.”
That’s when “The Sharks” declined his $500,000/30 percent deal. It got worse when hundreds of requests from potential franchisees came in after the episode aired … and Campbell did not have the resources to support them.
But his “pity pool,” he says, was only temporary.
“Is the dream dead or alive? That’s what we had to ask ourselves,” he says. “We decided it was alive, and we forged ahead and eventually sold three franchises.”Today, Campbell has eight stores, with two more on the way, and claims the title of “Largest hand bottler of extra virgin olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars in the United States.”
As he grows his business through franchising, one of the sell points to potential franchisees — in addition to his brand and artisan products — is his technology.
Campbell in now in the process of rolling out a modern tablet POS system — NCR Silver — to his franchise stores.
“With NCR Silver, we’re moving ahead,” Campbell says. “We’re now using the latest tech in The Oilerie. That helps us with franchisee prospects who are looking at us, and they see that we are cutting edge.”
In addition to 180-plus years of financial tech know-how, The Oilerie chose NCR Silver for it’s franchise-friendly platform.
“We chose it for the heritage of NCR’s brand name and because the knowledge they bring to the table,” he says. “We felt that NCR Silver fit the bill at a good price point. Plus, the service has been impeccable. What we really like about it is that it’s cloud based and now our corporate office has access to all stores — in one platform.”
Meet the newest franchisee
The Oilerie’s newest franchisee is Lori Hackman in Sun Prairie, Wi. Opening in March 2016, it’s also Hackman’s first foray into entrepreneurship. The ex user-interface designer decided she had enough of the IT world, and wanted something different.
That’s when she saw Campbell’s appearance on The Shark Tank. She wanted in.
“One of my first jobs was a tour guide in a winery,” she says. “People are just so happy trying everything. That’s what we have here at The Oilerie, basically.”
As an expert in user interfaces, she was drawn to her new POS system for its iPad intuitiveness, as well as its back office.
“It’s been amazing,” Hackman says. “The customers love it when you flip the iPad for them to sign. The front and back end are super easy to use. The database was also super easy to copy over from other stores. It just comes over, and all my products are there.”
Experience with Silver Concierge
Due to its growth, The Oilerie been taking advantage of the Silver Concierge service. Offered within the subscription, Silver Concierge offers The Oilerie and other businesses back office set up, training, monthly menu maintenance, credit processor assistance and hardware support.
It’s part of a Customer Support team that’s open 24/7 and offers live, U.S.-based assistance via chat, text, email and phone.
“We heavily rely on Concierge and Support,” Campbell says. “We get immediate attention. That’s so important to us. I know my franchisees and corporate staff get the answers they need in a timely fashion.”
Case in point: When Hackman opened up shop in March, the Concierge team handled the card processor integration, a task she was very unsure about.
“It’s my first time running a business, and I was nervous about things like my technology and credit processing,” Hackman says. “I thought it was going to be the most difficult part. Thanks to Silver Concierge, it just wasn’t.”
Life after The Tank
Unlike many other retailers that sell oils and vinegars, The Oilerie offers taste-testing. Campell and Hackman also enjoy good brand recognition from exposure on “The Shark Tank” and “Beyond the Tank,” as well as having pioneered the concept in the region, they say.
“We’re the first concept like this in the area,” says Campbell. “I saw it in other countries and wondered, ‘Why isn’t anyone doing this here? People spend a lot of money on olive oil, and sometimes find out they don’t like a particular bottle. At The Oilerie, the customer tries it right from the tank. They know exactly what they’re getting.’ ”
In addition to three locations in Wisconsin, The Oilerie has spots in Oregon, Ohio and South Carolina. Up next: Houston and metro Seattle.
When that happens, Campbell plans on taking his new POS system along for the ride.
“When we’re ready for the next step, we know NCR will help us grow,” he says.