Olive + M has launched in Central Market and for me, and my sweet father, this is a personal best-in-show! Central Market, which is owned by the parent company H.E.B. has 9 locations throughout Texas and we are sitting pretty on the Healthy Living shelves of each and every one of these beauties! Central Market has been a place of inspiration for its customers since the day they opened their doors. Inspiring people to think outside the box and explore the culinary arts using pure wholesome and sometimes exotic ingredients from the Mother herself, Mother Nature. We could not be more aligned and excited about this partnership with a company that shares our values and ethics about ingredients, diversity, sustainability, community, and family. So why is this news so exciting for me to share and so dear to my heart you ask? Story time!
My father was a connoisseur of all things elegant, luxurious and tasty. As an interior designer, he dedicated his life to creating beautiful homes for his clients and searching the world for treasures to embellish and decorate their spaces. He was a stickler for the institution of classic style; he believed tuxedos, limousines, and grand pianos should always be black. And he believed a thank you card was always to be written following a kind gesture made or a gift received. Life’s little pleasures that were pleasing to the senses were anything but lost on this eccentric man. And so when Central Market opened its first store in Austin back in 1994 with items like chocolates from Italy, batch numbered bottles of olive oil from Spain, fragrant Meyer lemons, and intriguing Fiddlehead fronds, well let’s just say I would have given anything to have been on his arm for his maiden voyage through the innovative flagship store.
I was recently relocated from NYC to Los Angeles when I got the phone call. I had moved to the big cities with a thirst for culture and diversity that my sleepy little Austin, back then, could not satisfy. I had Daddy’s genes and nothing to tie me down so off I went in search of life’s little pleasures. I remember the phone call vividly, “Darling, you are just going to lose your mind when you see this beautiful new grocery store that has opened in Austin.” My father was calling me about a grocery store? Was my mother ok? Did he just use the words beautiful and grocery store in the same sentence? Had he lost his mind? My mind was reeling with so many questions!
In 1994 when Central Market opened its first store they were focused on filling a gap in the market that was beginning to reveal itself. Foodie magazines were earning real estate on the magazine racks in grocery stores and The Food Network had debuted a 24-hour food channel only one year prior. Americans were expanding their culinary tastes but unable to shop for the ingredients the media outlets were educating them on. Enter Central Market; a high-end grocery store that would feature hard-to-find ingredients, wines, cheeses, and exotic produce from around the world for the curious cook of the household who was grocery shopping to expand their culinary pantry not their laundry room needs. Almost overnight Central Market became one of Austin’s top tourist destinations with its maze-like floor plan guiding the patron through each deliciously decadent department. When I moved back to Austin my father and I began shopping Central Market together delighting in worldly treasures we would find for family holiday meals or just Monday night dinner. Daddy proudly dressed to shop “Central” as it came to be known in my family, until the day he died.
Through the years Central Market has had to adapt with the times and their own tremendous growth but they have never sacrificed their core values of delivering quality specialty goods that are fresh and competitively priced for what they are. Not only do they knock it out of the park with sourcing their assortment but they have always, and continue to be, a magnet for the quality people they employ to work in and run their stores. Many of the employees at the flagship store have been there since day 1 and that speaks volumes about the family ethos you will feel when you shop in a Central Market. At Olive + M we know the value of having a tribe with whom you share values and a non-negotiable passion for making the world a better place and lifting people up along the way.
Here are some Fun Facts about HEB the parent company of Central Market.
The first store was in Kerrville Texas where Florence Butt opened the store in 1905 so she could make enough money to raise her three boys while her husband was ill.
Forbes reports that H-E-B CEO Charles Butt and his family are worth $10.7 billion; the company donates 5 percent of pre-tax profits to charity.
H-E-B receives thousands of requests for charity donations a year; they also respond rapidly and effectively to hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, and floods. During Hurricane Harvey, they distributed more than 43 truckloads of water and 15 truckloads of ice.
The company has three mobile kitchens to aid in disaster relief. Two are 57 feet long and can serve more than 6,000 meals per hour; a smaller third mobile kitchen was added after Hurricane Harvey. When shelters opened in Austin during the hurricane, H-E-B disaster teams moved their services here to provide meals.
So if you live in Texas check us out at Central Market and tell them the proud team over at Olive + M sent you!