Olio’s Market to open on the west side to sell olive oil and products that pair with it

WICHITA — A vacation to Branson was the start of an idea that’s now turning into a new business for Lisa and John Madden.

The couple – she’s a customer relations specialist with Bombardier, and he’s in the Navy – were at Branson Landing when they came across a store devoted to selling olive oil.

They’ve been to similar stores in Kansas City and St. Louis “just to get a vibe for how they operate,” Lisa Madden says.

They’re now opening their own store, Olio’s Market, at 10051 W. 21st St., next to LaMar’s Donuts.

Olio is the Italian word for oil.

Olive oil is mainly what Olio’s will carry, but it also will have products that go well with oil, such as bread, pasta, and pizza crust. The store also will carry a line of salts, jam and pesto.

Lisa Madden says the oils Olio’s will carry will be about quality and variety.

“Most of the oils you buy in the supermarket don’t tell you when they were crushed or pressed … and they don’t tell you the nutritional value,” she says.

Hers will have that information, Madden says.

The store will have 10 kinds of oils that are pressed from different olives. Madden says they’ll be pressed and sold within a six-month window.

There will be another 10 kinds of flavored oils, such as blood orange and basil-infused oil, on a seasonal basis.

Customers will be able to sample the oils, which Madden says “is a really cool thing.”

“There’s just a wide variety of things,” she says.

The store also will have 20 varieties of vinegar.

“There’s lots of really cool combinations,” Madden says of mixing the oil and vinegar.

One of her favorites is honey balsamic vinegar mixed with Persian lime-infused olive oil.

“It just rocks any balsamic you will have in any restaurant here in town.”

Olio’s, which will open by Oct. 25, will be in 1,800 square feet. About 1,500 of that will be a showroom.

John Madden, who is about to retire from the Navy, will run the store full time.

“My husband’s … kind of an amateur foodie,” Madden says.

Her late mother, Enas Walker, was a home economics teacher at North High School for years.

“So consequently, I was raised in 4-H and cooking and food and that kind of thing.”

Madden says it’s not unreasonable to think a store that focuses mainly on olive oil sales can do well.

She says she thinks repeat business will come “once you taste the olive oils and you have the flexibility of mixing your own.”

“That will drive the market.”

She says it’s a popular concept elsewhere and “has been kind of slow getting there in Wichita.”

“I really think that there’s a market out there for it.”

As proof, Madden points to someone who sampled some of the Olio’s products.

“She said, ‘We don’t have to go to Kansas City for our oils anymore.’”