A Second Chance on Stony Plain Road: The Olive Nook

Megan Lala

The Olive Nook
15230 Stony Plain Road

Bottle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil on the shelves at The Olive Nook. Photo: Megan Lala

An exciting new vendor has moved into SPR’s very own Blue Jar Antique Mall. The Olive Nook is a delightful local shop that imports delicious olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Owner Elisa Pierson was born and raised in the west end of Edmonton, together with her husband, Jason Parker, and three children.

Pierson began her career 21 years ago in the Stony Plain Road area at a small family-run tobacco import company, Global Cigars (known then as More Than Cigars) at 10118 149 Street. Pierson’s part-time job selling specialty tobacco and cigars from around the world out of Global Cigar’s humidor quickly turned into a full-time position of 15 years, and a lifetime of friendship. It was there where she had the opportunity to learn everything there is to know about managing a small business, importing quality goods and regional luxuries, and the importance of quality customer service.

“I knew one day I wanted to own my own quaint little retail space, but I didn’t really know what my primary product would be until a few years ago,” states Pierson.

While in BC one summer, Pierson and her family spotted a little olive oil and vinegar tasting room and decided to take a look. “It was like the heavens parted and I immediately knew this was what I wanted to do,” says Pierson. She started reading and researching about what makes good olive oil and good balsamic vinegar. Her background in tobacco came in handy since specialty tobacco, fine wines. bourbon, and olive oil and vinegar all fit into a category called regional luxuries. When selecting these items, growing conditions, soil conditions, aging processes or freshness and chemical composition are all taken into account. Each region has different qualities which will in turn offer different sensory experiences, such as flavour and texture.

Pierson sampled hundreds of oils and vinegars from Italy and South Africa, but in the end she fell in love with their Californian Olive Oil. Their vinegars are imported from Italy and are infused in California, and are aged using the Ancient Solara Method which leaves it thick and syrupy.

With their oils and vinegars sourced, The Olive Nook set-up a spot just off Whyte Avenue. The idea was to create a welcoming space where people would be invited to try something new. They wanted to offer an experience based on old school customer service, and they did. In the 10 months that they were operational, they made a ton of friends in the neighbourhood and loved every part of running a retail space. “Everything seemed to be going in the right direction, after making it through the winter, we were excited to see what the spring and summer seasons would bring, and then the world stopped,” states Pierson.

They, like everyone else, had to close their doors. When they reopened they had some great support from customers, yet there were too many factors going against them. They lost their foot traffic from the festivals during the summer months. And, in addition to economics, there was also an uncertainty of if they would have to shut down again.

In order to continue bringing their oils and vinegars to the table, The Olive Nook needed to simplify. They decided to head home to Stony Plain Road. “I’m so happy to be part of the Blue Jar Antique Mall,” says Pierson. ”It has given me the ability to continue offering olive oils and vinegars in a unique, friendly atmosphere!”

Shoppers can find The Olive Nook’s full line up of 20 different infused olive oils and vinegars among the 7000sq of unique antiques and vintage items at the Blue Jar Antique Mall. With the holiday season near The Olive Nook is excited to introduce some new flavours to their full-time lineup.

Pierson says, “We were heartbroken to leave our labour of love behind in Old Strathcona, but the SPR Business Association, along with the businesses in the neighbourhood are doing a fabulous job breathing new life into this historic area. I’m so excited to be a part of it!”

Follow The Olive Nook on Facebook and Instagram at @theolivenook.ca , and visit their website: theolivenook.ca

Megan Lala is the Communications Coordinator for the Stony Plain Road & Area BIA.

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