By Sarrah Peters, News Editor
Right after Tena King’s mother received a liver transplant, she visited a store dedicated to olive oils and vinegars in Blue Ridge.
“She was on a real restricted diet,” said King. “We called UAB after we visited and asked if she could have olive oil and vinegar, and they said sure if it’s the real stuff.”
They went back to the store to learn more. King said that she was inspired, and started writing a business plan that night.
“I think we signed a lease on a building about two weeks later,” said King.
King’s Olive Oil, located at 618 Broad Street in Gadsden, opened its doors in October of 2013.
“It truly was for the health benefits because my mom was on such a restricted diet,” said King.
Studies show that olive oil may reduce LDL cholesterol levels in the blood; “displace” saturated fats from the diet; contribute to satiety; delay the absorption of food, preventing insulin spikes and premature hunger; increase the body fat burning hormone adiponectin; contains antioxidants and phytochemicals, both beneficial to the body; reduce hypertension; lower blood pressure; limit plaque-formation and strengthen teeth; lower risk of blocked arteries; decrease rate of cardiovascular disease; reduce the risk of stroke; lower risk of some cancers, including colon, ovarian, prostate, skin and breast cancer; reduce pain and inflammation including from arthritis; and decrease Alzheimer’s disease risk.
Studies show that vinegar may lower risk of some cancers, since it is high in antioxidants; naturally suppress appetite; reduce cholesterol; lower blood pressure; help increase metabolism; slow the effects of aging; reduce headache severity and frequency; help digestive disorders; help prevent or slow bone diseases, like osteoporosis; help prevent strokes; assist in anemia and fatigue treatment; and help control diabetes.
King says that the olive oil King’s sells is not the same thing that you can buy in big box stores. The company that provides the oils does a chemical analysis on each product, through an independent laboratory.
“We know when it was pressed,” said King. “We know the country of origin. We have a chemical analysis. So we know it’s truly what it says it is.”
The products are also protected from heat, light and oxygen until they are bottled.
King’s also offers a much wider variety of olive oils and vinegars, with over 60 different flavors, which customers can sample before they buy.
Olive flavors range from savory herbs and spices, like organic butter, fused chipotle, organic garlic and Tuscan herbs, to more exotic spicy flavors like Baklouti green chili or red cayenne, to sweet citrus flavors, like fused lemon, fused blood orange and organic Persian lime.
The store offers even more vinegar flavors with nearly every fruit flavor you can imagine, including coconut, apricot, blueberry, peach, raspberry and blackberry ginger. Other vinegar flavors include sweet flavors, like vanilla, chocolate and Vermont maple; and unexpected flavors, like jalepeno and espresso.
All of the vinegars are from Modena, Italy and originate from the Treviano grape, which is “the only grape that really makes a true balsamic.” No sugar or additives are added to the vinegars.
Additionally, the store has specialty oils like roasted almond oil, Japanese roasted sesame oil, roasted French walnut oil and white and black truffle oils.
The store also sells pastas; pepper jellys made in Huntville; various rubs, dips and sea salts; stuffed olives; a new line of Southern Girl Coffee out of Oxford; a locally made barbeque sauce; Back Forty honey and malt vinegar; and even local artwork on notecards by Fral’s Art.
“If we can find a good product that someone else isn’t carrying and it’s a local product, we will carry it,” said King.
King’s also has a back area that serves as a meeting space and wine and cheese bar. The store rents it out for events. King’s Olive Oil is also beginning to host classes, which will cover olive oil and vinegar 101, its influence on weight loss, cooking with olive oil and vinegar with cancer and more. To learn more about the classes, call the store at 256-459-4719 or visit in person.
King’s Olive Oil has been a huge success in the community. During The Business Council of Alabama and Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama’s annual meeting in Birmingham in 2016, the store was named Alabama’s Small Business of the Year in the 1-10 employee category.
“It was an honor to be nominated, that’s for sure,” said King. “Then when we made it to the finalists, I was surprised. And then when we actually won, I was truthfully speechless.”
King’s Olive Oil is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. The store is closed on Sunday and Monday.