Check out our interview with  Nick Semertzides of Mt. Kofinas Olive Oil, one of the vendors appearing at Second Sunday on Main in July!

Want to join our fantastic vendors at the July 8th Second Sunday event? There’s still time to register! http://secondsundayonmain.org/vendors/

Nick Semertzides works with Mt. Kofinas Olive Oil, a family-owned company based in Cincinnati. Kofinas imports their cold-pressed oil from their family olive groves located at the foothills of Mt. Kofinas in Greece.

When did you start your company and where is it based?

We started our company a couple of years ago and it is based here in Cincinnati, or more specifically, in Montgomery. However, all of the olive oil we use comes from our family groves in a small village on the island of Crete, in Greece.

What inspires you?

Good food. Real food.

What is your favorite part about Second Sunday?

To be honest, my favorite part is the location.  You know, downtown could be so much more than it is today.  We have so much going for us here in Cincinnati, as far the geography of the downtown area is concerned.  I mean seriously, have you seen the skyline of Cincinnati from accross the river, at twilight?  You can’t take a bad picture with your eyes closed.  And yet, I feel we just don’t do enough with it.  That’s why events like this are so important.  I feel like we are trying to claw back downtown from irrelevance.  For a few hours on a Sunday, downtown felt alive again.  It’s a crying shame that cities with not half of what we have going for us have a much more vibrant city life.  We need more events like this to maybe drag a real flavor into our town.  And the size and span of the whole project just makes it so substantial and fun.

Fill in the blank: The best part about my city/neighborhood is _________.

I live in Hyde Park. I can walk to everything. I used to live in the deep burbs. I lived about 250 feet from a UDF and I had to drive to it because it was across this tiny bridge with no walk way. I was so close to it I could almost hear the cash registers open and close but there was literally no way I could just walk to it.

What are your favorite local spots to shop, eat, or visit?

I love anything on the river. I love the view from Mt Adams. Oh, and Eden Park. The dining experience in Cincinnati has improved in general since I’ve lived here the past twenty years. When I first came here from New Jersey, I didn’t remember there being that many good Italian places to eat. Now, it’s full of them. As goes a city’s dining, so goes the city itself, I always say.


What do you want people to take away from Mt. Kofinas Olive Oil?

That it’s the real thing. What I find amazing is that these large olive oil companies fund all these studies showing the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil, and the spend millions on advertising their product, and then degrade the quality of the product itself. There have been lots of studies and analysis of various olive oils that sit on store shelves that claim to be extra virgin. Depending on what study you look at, between 65% and 95% are falsely labeled. Some aren’t even olive oil. I’ve heard of cases where they just blended canola, vegetable, and pumice olive oil, added some chlorophylls for color and called it extra virgin olive oil. Producing real extra virgin first cold press olive oil takes time and money to produce and produce well, so when you see a bottle labeled extra virgin olive oil on the store shelf that costs the same as canola, there’s a reason for that.

What advice would you offer to aspiring indie business owners?

You better love it, because that “be your own boss” stuff is garbage. Your life and your job become one. Working for someone else is like babysitting someone’s kids. Starting your own business is like giving birth. But in the end, you’re probably happier.

You can find Mt. Kofinas Olive Oil at Second Sunday on Main on July 8th,  or find them via http://kofinasoliveoil.com/ and on Facebook. Visit Mt. Kofinas Olive Oil’s website to find out where you can purchase their olive oil.