Daily Herald
Libertyville store features healthy cooking oils
By Kim Mikus | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 9/3/2010 12:02 AM

A Libertyville shop that opened Thursday features an array of extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and other gourmet products.

Oh Olive, at 606 N. Milwaukee Ave., highlights a collection of healthy food products from mango salsa to garlic stuffed olives.

Longtime educator Sandy Schuenemann and business partner Mary Koval are launching the new business designed to resemble a Tuscan villa. Schuenemann currently serves as associate superintendent with Fox Lake Elementary School District 114, where she has been for 37 years. The Richmond resident plans to retire at the end of the school year and then devote her time to the new business.

Opening this type of shop, with the slogan "health for life," has been a longtime dream for the educator. "This is what I've always wanted to do when I grow up," Schuenemann said with a laugh. Over the years, the owners have developed a passion for cooking and using high-quality ingredients.

The women researched the business concept and found an California importer for the olive oils. Schuenemann added that through her education background she's a researcher with a passion for food.

"I've learned that really healthy food can also taste very good," said Schuenemann, who said her husband, Art, is working at the new shop.

Other highlights include the Cherith Valley Gardens line that includes the mango salsa and an array of other unique products. Natural pasta products, Galena Garlic spices and 40 blends of imported teas that are part of the Tiesta Teas line are included in the mix. The green, white and black teas are filled with antioxidants, the owners said. This is the first store in the Midwest to sell the tea line.

A California importer provides more than 40 varieties of extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars. They range from about $15 a bottle.

Schuenemann and Koval have spent a lot of time choosing the products as well as designing the look of the store. "We want people to walk in and feel good about being here," Schuenemann said.

Koval works as a secretary for the same Fox Lake school district. Koval's husband, Bob, is currently serving as the acting police chief in the village. The owners say Libertyville is the perfect location for the quaint business. For more information, call (224) 433-6629.

• Kim Mikus covers small business. She welcomes comments at kmikus@dailyherald.com.