Striking Oil (and Vinegar)
updated: Oct 05, 2013, 1:00 PM
By Kelley Skumautz
Around Town Asides - Local Finds With Refill In Mind.
Armed with reused containers and bags, I scour the greater Santa Barbara area for places where
bringing your own is not taboo.
About three years ago I was paging through The Ojai Bubble and saw an ad for The Refill Shoppe" in Ventura. It grabbed my attention, so on my
next foray from Carpinteria down to LA, I made sure to stop by and snoop around. The store's owner,
Michelle, stocks ample bulk supplies of household and personal care products, and from the start I
knew I would be a loyal customer. As we got to talking, Michelle was kind enough to point me toward
another replenishment opportunity just down the street from her at We
Olive. Sometime later, when I needed olive oil and balsamic vinegar, I gave them a try.
We Olive has 11 California locations though none are central to the greater Santa Barbara area (the
nearest are in SLO and VTA). By no means am I suggesting they are the only outlet for refillable olive oil
(Isla Vista Co-op carries at least two varieties
plus canola oil), but for price and selection, a visit to We Olive is well worth it if you're nearby.
(Personally, I make sure to team up this southbound errand only when I have other business taking me
Once there, I can choose from about ten different olive oils and five balsamic all priced at $1.15 per
ounce. The Ventura shopkeepers are always happy when customers arrive with their own containers for
refilling (during my last visit, I was the first of three shoppers in a row to bring in our own - yay!). And,
as further incentive, We Olive has a rewards club so that for every 64 ounces purchased, people receive
12 ounces free.
The Ventura store is usually hopping and the more I look around, the more I understand why; there are
gift options galore for the hard-to-buy-for men in my life - tapenades, condiments, grilling
accouterments, and salsas - all made within 100 miles of where I stand.
Most of all, I appreciate We Olive's fast and friendly staff who, with warm smiles and great service,
answer foodie and enviro concerns alike.
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Kelley Skumautz is the owner of Refill to You a home
and small business delivery service that replenishes products for the kitchen, bath, and laundry. She
also writes a weekly blog about simplicity, sustainability,
community & commodity.
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