Kalamazoo Oil Company Arrives In Downtown St. Petersburg

Tampa Bay foodies will soon have a new place to go for oils, sauces and spices when Kalamazoo Olive Company opens on June 25 at 449 Central Ave. in downtown St. Petersburg's Arcade Building.

Owner James Ryan says the concept for his business is really simple: Taste before you buy. "Everything should be tasted," says Ryan. "Sometimes folks are afraid to try something new or they think it's too expensive. But Kalamazoo Olive is an olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting store. We have seven different tasting stations where customers can really explore what they are getting before they spend any money."

Ryan says that in addition to traditional and flavored specialty oils, the store offers sauces, spices and specialty foods, some of which are supplied from Tampa Bay area businesses such as Delicaé Gourmet in Tarpon Springs. The store offers a syrup from Ryan's own home state, Michigan. If you know your geography, you can pretty much figure out where the store's name came from. "If you know Kalamazoo, if you've been there, we have a lot to talk about," says Ryan. "If you don't, then it's just a really fun name."

The former Raymond James employee fell in love with St. Petersburg, affectionately called "the 'Burg,'' while on business. "It's big city with a small town feel," he says. You feel that right away. It's why I'm here. And St. Pete is ready for this. They're really growing."

Ryan asked RayJay for a transfer a couple years ago, and worked on his dream. "I've always been a foodie," he says. "And I love to entertain. I do a lot of entertaining on the fly, so customers coming in to the shop will find lots of simple, quick ideas for putting together a nice last-minute party."

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: James Ryan, Kalamazoo Olive Co.
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