On June 8, and Chocolate teamed up for Peculiar Pairings: Ice cream, oil and balsamic vinegar. It was a fundraiser where adventuresome foodies could try things like vanilla ice cream topped with pumpkin seed vinegar and a bit of sea salt.
The food combinations may have been “peculiar,” but the pairing of Vom Fass and Kakao, in Maplewood, along with other foodie spots like has proved to be synergistic.
For Vom Fass, the Maplewood franchise is the second-highest grossing Vom Fass in the United States.
The corporate store in Madison, WI, is the only Vom Fass in the U.S. that ranks above Maplewood.
“We opened Dec. 18, 2009,” owner Anita Von Ballmoos said. “We just opened the door, and we were surprised how many people came in."
The Maplewood Vom Fass is ahead of franchises in New Orleans, Des Moines, Jackson, WY, and Westlake Village, CA.
Von Ballmoos said the average sales for a Vom Fass store is $350,000 annually, and “we are really beating them, so that's really cool for us.” She said they’ve grown 40 percent each year.
She attributes her success to the Maplewood commercial neighborhood.
“We are between Kakao and Penzeys, so it's really a nice neighborhood relationship here,” she said.
“Penzeys says, ‘Hey, you have to go to Vom Fass,’ and Kakao says, ‘Hey you have to go to Vom Fass,’ so it's really a nice relationship with other business-owners here, so I think it's the best place to have my store.”
Tami Newman, national marketing director for Vom Fass, said Vom Fass and Penzeys go well together. “It's kind of foodie heaven,” she said. The Madison, WI, Vom Fass also has a Penzeys next door.
Von Ballmoos said in the summer, on the liquor side, the sour cherry vodka is popular.
“It's a little bit tart,” she said. “You feel it here, (she points to each side of the underside of her jaw) it makes you smile a little bit.”
She said they have a vinegar from the Philippines that’s “between a lemon and a mandarin, so it's really fresh, really citrusy. We sell it like crazy in the summer. It's nice on spinach salad. It's nice on fish, for lighter dishes.”
She said in the fall she sells a lot of apple and pumpkin seed vinegar.
Von Ballmoos said the city of Maplewood does a lot for her success.
“They promote the city a lot,” she said. “They have a lot of events here.”