An enterprising Astoria couple is attempting to turn the high-end extra-virgin olive oil from their family’s 400-year-old olive grove in Greece into pure business gold.
Lori, 54, and Panos Konstantopoulos, 58, moved back to the U.S. this fall to focus on increasing sales of their Euphoria brand oil in the area’s upscale groceries and markets.
“We’re trying to get into more stores,” says Panos Konstantopoulos, who hopes to sell 5,000 bottles of the peppery oil in the U.S. this year. “We believe in this product.”
His family has harvested Koroneiki olives from their roughly 1,000 olive trees since the 1600s, he notes. The plantation is located in the small Greek town of Siamu.
About 40 years ago, the Konstantopoulos family started selling the oil to locals and European wholesalers. Lori, an American who moved to Greece after she married her husband, said they decided launch their Euphoria line in the U.S. after she received rave reviews from friends and family back home.
“It’s just got a really strong, robust taste,” says Lori Konstantopoulos. “It’s not a mild olive oil at all.”
So two years ago, they began selling their olive oil in a handful of stores in Manhattan and on Long Island and through their website. The couple is also in talks with other small retailers about carrying the product.
“We want to make sure it’s not sitting on a shelf getting old,” she adds. “You’re supposed to have it as close to the press date as possible.”
As a result, she and her husband have no plans to sell their brand in large supermarket chains and have been hesitant to approach distributors, she says.
“It’s hard to compete against the cheap oil,” says Lori Konstantopoulos, who sells half-liter bottles of Euphoria oil for $28 on their website.
James Coogan, who manages the Ideal Cheese Shop in Midtown Manhattan, says the oil has a nice acidity and peppery finish.
“It’s the only Greek olive oil that I sell here,” he says. “It’s a pretty good value for the quality of the oil.