Splash of Olive: Downtown Decatur Community Anchor
Nikki Economou, a Decatur, GA resident, is a loyal customer of Splash of Olive “since they opened.” Economou and her wife, Dawn Buannic, say they try to spread the word about Splash of Olive “because the quality is so good.” We asked Economou to speak to the community through our blog. She sat down with freelance writer, Shannon Hames, and shared how she became a customer, the worldwide problem of adulterated olive oil and how Splash of Olive is a key player in the downtown Decatur community culture.
Shannon: How did you hear about Splash of Olive?
Nikki: When I saw that they were moving into this space through the signs in the window, I was so happy! Then, the owner, Rebecca Hadaway, came upstairs into the condos and brought samples and greeted some of our residents. Everyone was blown away by the quality and it’s the only place that we get our oils and vinegars now.
What do you like to buy when you come in?
I like the really flavorful oils – the deep flavors. I absolutely love the lemon oil. It’s so good! We’ve tried many other flavors like Tarragon and they’ve all been great. But we have Arugula salad every day and it’s got a nice peppery bite to it so the lemon infused oil is the perfect compliment. I much prefer to make my own salad dressings. It tastes better and it doesn’t have all of that garbage in it.
What kind of value does a store like this bring to the downtown Decatur neighborhood?
I think it brings a ton of value. It’s essentially right around the corner from everyone. But because it’s around the corner from the main drag, it makes it difficult for some folks to know it’s here. And in addition to being a great place for people who live here to buy high quality products, there are so many restaurants here that take advantage of the variety and selection.
The people in Decatur seem to be very supportive of small businesses. Can you speak to why it’s so important to support small business in a community like this?
I’ve done a lot of traveling. What drives me crazy is to find franchises everywhere. People miss out on the special-ness of unique flavors that can be found in places like Splash of Olive. You can go to a chain store anywhere. Why not go to the small business who has a better product and buy from someone who cares about your community?
Have you heard about the big problems with adulterated olive oil?
They keep doing stories on 60 Minutes and shows like that which focuses on store olive oils not being real olive oil. People are expressing a lot of frustration that they’re not getting what they think they’re getting. And some people who buy olive oil for their health may actually be harming themselves because they’re not even getting real olive oil. I mean, what is that in the bottle marked “Extra Virgin Olive Oil”? But at Splash of Olive, they only carry the Ultra Premium Standard that certifies the purity of the oil that they sell here. It’s real olive oil.
You are on the leadership committee of Downtown Decatur Neighbors who Splash of Olive is partnering with on a green space initiative. Can you share a bit about that?
Our board decided to sell t-shirts to raise awareness about the need to preserve downtown Decatur’s few remaining green spaces. Someone suggested that we ask Rebecca at Splash of Olive if she would be willing to be a distribution point for those who bought a shirt. She has such a great personality and is such a fantastic person to want to integrate herself and her business into this community. She agreed to help us out so when people order a shirt, we send her their name and info and she makes sure that they get it. Hopefully, they’ll get to see her fantastic shop and support that, too.
It’s all a partnership. People support their local small businesses and those businesses give back and support the neighborhood. It’s a circle, right?
Absolutely! Last week, I had a meeting with the mayor and I said that this isn’t just a community. A community is an extension of your family. Your family is what you make it where you are. We have great people here in downtown Decatur and great businesses that make it a fantastic place to live. Splash of Olive is a true gem in this city.