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Lucero Olive Oil opened Nov. 23 in Bridgeport Village


by: REVIEW, TIDINGS PHOTO: CLIFF NEWELL - Eric Mann displays a bottle of ascalano at the new Lucero Olive Oil store where he is manager.Eric Mann of Lake Oswego is an entrepreneur at heart. The recent Oregon State University graduate is putting his business savvy and skills to good use with Lucero Olive Oil.

The California company opened its first retail store in Oregon at Bridgeport Village late last year. When the doors opened, Mann was behind the counter. Things have been coming up olives ever since.

“We did great over the holidays,” Mann said. “We opened on Black Friday, Nov. 23. We gave people gifts; we got them acquainted with our product.”

The company came into existence because the soil of Corning, Calif., is so crummy.

“Olives love terrible soil,” Mann said. “They liked to be stressed. It takes three years for a mature olive tree to grow in California, and in Oregon it takes five to seven years.”

Dewey Lucero went into a garage and started pressing olives from his parents’ orchard. He started bringing his olive oil to events and tastings in California. Three years ago he was ready to develop a company.

“He came to Crane’s Mills, which is on my mom’s side of the family,” Mann said. “We work together.”

Upon getting his diploma from OSU, Mann took a six-month crash course on olives in California, learning every aspect of the business — bottling, orchard work, milling. He wrote up a business plan and presented it to Lucero’s board of directors.

Two weeks after returning from California, he found himself managing the store in Bridgeport Village.

“It was a whirlwind,” Mann said.

Home was where he wanted to begin his business career in earnest. Mann is a graduate of Lake Oswego High School and he lived his entire life in Lake Oswego before going to Corvallis for his college education.

“That’s why I wanted the store here,” he said. “It was a good opportunity to reach out to the community.”

Today, Mann spends much of his time educating Oregonians about why Lucero Olive Oil is great.

“We have all Spanish varieties of olives,” he said. “We test all of our olives, and our milling process is extreme. California certification is very strict, especially compared to Italy or even Oregon.

“That makes our oils much purer and more unique. We have four stages of processing compared to only two in other places. We can find something that will fit your palette. We have a list of options that you will enjoy, whether it’s on your fifth try or your first try.”

Mann said the olive oil industry is booming. He equates the growth to the wine industry in recent years.

“People are coming to know why olive oil is good for you,” Mann said. “Health-conscious eating is a big trend, and olive oil is the healthiest oil there is.”

Lucero Olive Oil is located at 7391A SW Bridgeport Road, Tigard. For more information, visit lucerooliveoil.com or call 503-709-2270.




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