Photos Jason Huynh
Walking into the store, Olive Tree and Vine (26 West Main Street, Cartersville) feels like stepping into a specialty shop from a small village in the U.K. It’s a hidden gem of the city that offers world-class liquid consumables in a homegrown, Southern way.
The warm wood tones of the interior are contrasted nicely with the sleek metal olive oil and vinegar depositories in the front of the shop. In the back, oversized leather furniture and tables invite guests to not only peruse the merchandise, but also sit, reflect and even enjoy a weekly wine and cheese tasting, hosted every Friday and Saturday night by the store’s founders and owners, Mark and
The idea for Olive Tree and Vine first began for the Smiths in 2014, as the couple began to brainstorm ideas to own a small, local business.
Originally a Construction Manager for AT&T and a stay-at-home-mom respectively, Mark and Jennifer always shared an entrepreneurial desire. They even tried their hand at selling beauty products, but discovered that type of shop was not for them.
That’s when, in August of 2014, while discussing what could come next for their family, the Smiths discovered an olive oil and vinegar store in Woodstock that inspired them to create their own shop, Olive Tree and Vine. Their first location was in West Cobb, but after three years, and opening a second location in Cartersville, they decided to close the West Cobb store and focus solely on their Cartersville location.
“I don’t want people to think I’m crazy, but [the decision to start a shop in Cartersville] was a feeling that I had. One November morning the Lord said, ‘Go to Cartersville,” and I found this location on that same day. And within a few days, we got in touch with the owners and decided to expand our oil and vinegar store to Cartersville,” says Mark. “You know, on this side of Highway 75 there’s not really an olive oil and vinegar store like this. So we are the only shop that serves Marietta and Cartersville.”
The move to Cartersville and the following decision to focus solely on this location proved to be the best choice for the Smiths. With extra virgin olive oil from Chile and specialty balsamic vinegars from Modena, Italy (and other locations depending on which hemisphere has the freshest produce at the time) Olive Tree and Vine has established themselves for housing world class oils and vinegars.
Specifically, there are over 50 selections of vinegars and both fused and infused olive oils. The difference between the oils is subtle but distinct. Infused means added to while fused means crushed with. This means that infused oils have fruits and flavors added to it, while fused oils have had the olives literally crushed with the added fruits and flavors.
After such success with their olive oil and vinegar department, and with a space over 150 feet deep, in 2016 the Smiths expanded their business to also sell over 100 different wines and something more surprising, coffee. The back wall of Olive Tree and Vine leads visitors to explore further, with a lighted sign leading the way to a coffee shop. This coffee shop is Southern Muggs, affectionately known to the regulars as “Smuggs,” providing patrons with a full-service coffee and pastry experience.
“We sell coffee, olive oil, vinegar and wine. As a small business, we’re not just one thing; we’ve found more success being unique and diversified,” explains Mark.
Two things that are consistent through all of their products are clear: the quality of the products and the efforts to find products that are locally produced whenever possible.
In Smuggs, the coffee is fresh from Cool Beans Coffee Roasters in Marietta and the pies, quiches and handmade New York bagels sold are also locally produced. Olive Tree and Vine sells local honey and jams from Jake’s Produce off Highway 20, and is an exclusive distributor for Big Door Vineyards’ wines located in White, Georgia. The walls of the shop are even lined with the artwork of local artists, and the front of the shop displays wooden cheese boards handcrafted by a local artisan.
Every detail, every product is carefully picked by Mark and Jennifer. “We’re community minded,” says Mark. “We pride ourselves on being a place where people can meet. Our wine tastings offer a social event where people can meet, chat and connect with our community. So that’s why we do this. We want to support the community.”
Their heart for the community has even influenced the Smith’s motto for their shop: “The world flows through here.”
“We treat it like a ministry,” Mark smiles. “People of all kinds come through and we’re just here to minister to them.”
People of all kinds do regularly flow through the shop, whether to sample a “cinnamon pear dark balsamic vinegar;” to sign up for the wine club, which includes two quality wines and weekly wine tasting every month; or even to attend the monthly “Bottles and Brushes,” a ladies event that involves painting wine glasses while sipping delicious wine.
As for what is coming next, the Smiths are already in the process of expanding their liquid consumables to include craft beer, starting in March of 2019, with the goal of reaching more people in their community.
“It’s the coolest shop in Bartow County,” says Jennifer with a satisfied smile. “Our goal is to make everyone feel welcome and at home.”
“And I think what sets us apart is our quality. We have the finest olive oil and vinegar, some of the finest wines and the finest coffee you can get locally. That, coupled with our innate desire to be hospitable is what makes us special,” says Mark.
“This is our living room,” he continues. “We invite people into our living room every single week to join us for wine tasting and to just be part of the community. So if you want to experience true Southern hospitality, come to Olive Tree and Vine in Cartersville.”