Celebrating Five Years at Olive Oil Marketplace
Meet Julie Meeks, co-owner of Olive Oil Marketplace!
Imagine walking into a friend’s house and immediately having that feeling of being right at home.
That’s what happens at Olive Oil Marketplace. From the moment Tim and Julie Meeks opened their front doors five years ago they have greeted everyone with a smile and a warm welcome making sure customers feel like part of their family every time they walk in.
Olive Oil Marketplace is a local family owned and operated Gourmet Market started by Tim and Julie Meeks in 2011. They opened their first brick and mortar location in 2012 in Downtown Alton. In 2016 they opened a second location in Downtown Belleville at 18 E Main Street Belleville, IL 62220. Both locations are open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Walking through the front door, customers are greeted with the sight of large, silver vats holding the more than 80 different flavors of olive oil and balsamics along both walls and in heart of the store. Need something for the grill? Olive Oil Marketplace features a grilling wall which includes seasonings and rubs, wood chips, and anything else needed to fire up the grill. Then sprinkled around the store are different products including pasta, coffee, tea, kitchen tools and gadgets and more gourmet food options.
Feeling inspired after going on several vacations and realizing how much they loved to shop in local mom and pop businesses, specifically gourmet food shops, Tim and Julie opened Olive Oil Marketplace. They realized they wanted to run a small business in Alton, IL so they could share their love of gourmet food and cooking with the community.
“We’ve always enjoyed going to Italian restaurants and particularly loved the olive oil and bread you get at the beginning of the meal,” Julie said. After doing their research on olive oil and balsamics, the couple decided to open up their shop and share their knowledge.
Owning a store, and a gourmet olive oil shop in particular, is a daily learning experience, the couple said.
“Our customers help us so much with new ideas and different ways to use the products we sell,” said Julie.
People come from all around Illinois and Missouri to visit and try the different flavors of olive oil and balsamics offered. They sell 40 different flavors of olive oil, including chocolate olive oil, which they recommend using as a substitute for vegetable oil in baking as it gives desserts extra flavor and is a healthier option. Olive oil is good for the heart, helps keeps cholesterol levels healthy, and reduces inflammation throughout the body, while balsamic helps aid digestion and is full of antioxidants. These are just some of the amazing benefits of using olive oil and balsamics, according to Julie.