Oilerie: Here's What Happened After Shark Tank

Curt Campbell has been obsessed with olive oil since 2003. That's when he traveled with his wife Amy Jo to Europe where they discovered olive oil bottling boutiques in The Netherlands as well as in Krakow, Poland. The shops allowed sampling of their oils before purchasing, at which point the product was bottled fresh in front of the customer. With nothing like this in the United States at the time, the Campbells recognized an opportunity to bring the concept to America.

That same year they opened a small shop in the village of Fish Creek, Wisconsin, offering a few varieties of their product – Curt's Spices. Then, shortly after, the duo started selling bulk oils and vinegars. According to Campbell, this began what he refers to as the olive oil revolution, and was the first time bottling on demand of the fresh products had been made available in the country.

The couple named their shop The Oilerie and began selling olive oil and balsamic vinegar imported from Italy in earnest. The ingredients are stored in specialized stainless steel dispensers called fusti, from which the bottles are filled — then corked, sealed, and dated. Finding success with their business, Campbell's dream for the company was to greatly expand with numerous franchises. He envisioned taking The Oilerie nationwide — and for that, he needed an investor with the finances and the business acumen to help him pull it off — going on "Shark Tank" seemed like just the ticket.

What happened to Oilerie on Shark Tank?

Campbell got his chance on "Shark Tank" in season 6, episode 6, on October 24, 2014. He asked for $500,000 in exchange for a 35% stake in his company. After explaining how his olive oil bar system works, he provided samples to try, including flavored oils and vinegar. Despite the fact that truffle oil is Martha Stewart's least favorite food, Shark Lori Greiner loved The Oilerie's version.

Campbell explained that a bottle of oil retailed for $16.50 but cost him $3.60. By sourcing in bulk from Italy, his average cost was $0.21 per ounce. There were seven stores operating — his own plus franchises — totaling $3.1 million in sales for the previous year. Campbell then said that he no longer worked in the store because he couldn't deal with the stress.

O'Leary shared his opinion that the oil wasn't anything special. He surmised that the business locations did well due to there not being many other options, but he didn't think it would succeed in larger cities. Robert Herjavec didn't feel the business was ready to franchise while Lori Greiner assumed Campbell wasn't prepared to handle the stress. Barbara Corcoran similarly didn't think he was cut out for it. Mark Cuban had nothing but positive things to say but ultimately didn't see himself as the right partner. Wiping away tears as he left the stage and hugged his wife, the emotional episode ended without Campbell securing a deal.

Oilerie after Shark Tank

In a follow-up episode of "Beyond The Tank," Campbell discussed how in hindsight, he knew things had gone wrong on "Shark Tank" as soon as he admitted that the stress of running the business was too much. Campbell said that in retrospect, he could have better explained himself and his plans (per Heavy). He didn't get a chance to tell the Sharks that he'd already had over 550 franchising inquiries, and that funds from a successful outcome on the show would have gone towards setting up 100 stores that were supposedly posed to open. He felt that an investment could have been repaid within 60 days.

He revealed that he experienced a dark time after not getting a deal, which left him feeling like he had failed. Eventually, he got himself out of his "custom-made pity pool" when he realized that "the dream of franchising Oilery is tattooed on my heart" (via YouTube). He concluded that despite the disappointment, going on the show had been a blessing, for more reasons than just the huge uptick in sales generated by the "Shark Tank" effect.

Campbell hired corporate training consultants to help structure and implement his franchise system. By 2016, an Oilerie franchise had opened in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, with three more on the way by the end of that year in Madison, Seattle, and Wisconsin. At the time, Campbell still intended to have 100 shops open within the next five years.

Is Oilerie still in business?

The Oilerie is still in business; however, there is only one store still operating. Along with Curt and Amy Jo Campbell's original Fish Creek location, the pair had also opened a shop in Green Bay. In 2019, the Green Bay outpost moved to a new location in the same city and remains open to this day. In May of 2021, the Fish Creek flagship store closed due to the pandemic (per Facebook).

It's unknown how many franchises in total were opened, but the last remaining one in Sun Prairie had closed as of January 2023. That shop rebranded under the name Olive and Herb, and the branch that was located in South Carolina also ended its contract and now operates as Hilton Head Olive Oils & Balsamics. While both businesses still follow the same business model and offer similar products, it is noted on The Oilerie's website that "Oilerie Balsamic and all Oilerie oils are only available at Oilerie Green Bay or here on the Oilerie website."

Although it is possible that the outbreak of COVID-19 also had a role in the various stores closing, there are other factors as well that are significantly affecting the olive oil industry as a whole. Along with a theft problem that could be impacting your olive oil, the economy and weather conditions may also be to blame for why olive oil prices are at an all-time high.

What's Next for Oilerie?

While the company has not made its plans for the foreseeable future public, franchises seem to have been put to rest. There is no information about franchising currently on its website, nor any announcements of any new stores opening. The Campbells' focus appears to be on their existing shop, with a variety of new oil flavors added to The Oilerie's offerings since the "Shark Tank" appearance, and a wide selection of products and ingredients geared toward Italian cooking. 

Extra virgin olive oil flavors are available in garlic, fior fiore (a term that literally translates to flower blossom but simply indicates the best quality of a product available), citrus, truffle, hot chili, sun dried tomato, dill, herb infused, and others ... all of which are available to try before you buy. While at the shop you can also pick up roasted walnut oil, toasted sesame oil, and avocado oil. The Oilerie's vanilla variety is the perfect topping for your vanilla ice cream or for making olive oil coffee at home.

The Oilerie's exclusive balsamic vinegar is aged 25 years and comes from Modena, Italy – a best-seller for more than 15 years. The shop's assortment of vinegars also includes fruit flavored, white balsamic, Bob's berry blend, and both black and white glazes by Mantova. The store also stocks Italian grocery and pantry items, imported candies, spices, gluten-free pasta, as well as products from Mantova Italian Foods and Pereg Gourmet. Shipping is available nationwide.