Vom Fass, a German retailer of oils, wines, spirits and vinegar, has opened its first Milwaukee location at Mayfair Mall.
The 980-square-foot store is next to Nordstrom and opened the same day – Oct. 23 – as the high-end retail giant.
“It’s shocking we were overlooked,” joked owner Ray Riordan.
Riordan, a former salesman and professional poker player, is a Marquette University graduate who was in school for his Master’s in Business Administration and planning to be an investment banker when he stopped in a Vom Fass store in St. Louis and decided he wanted to open a franchise.
Riordan spent 18 months looking for the right location before deciding on Mayfair Mall.
“To me, it’s critical to find the right spot to start,” he said. “We have a fantastic product and offer a fantastic experience, but no one knows what Vom Fass means.”
Vom Fass announced in 2011, it was planning two Milwaukee locations, one at the Milwaukee Public Market and another at Bayshore Town Center, but neither came to fruition. Vom Fass has a second Wisconsin location in Madison.
So far, business at Mayfair has been good; however, Riordan has learned owning a business is more about putting out fires than following a plan.
On his first day, only two of the nine employees he hired showed up for work.
Now fully staffed, things are running smoother.
“I think I hit a home run here,” Riordan said.