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  • 27 August 2015
  • Bonnie Stack

United Problem Solvers™: Living the Tuscan Dream

At The UPS Store, we love a good challenge, so when a UPS Store franchisee and general manager were presented with a unique challenge from one of their small business customers, they immediately went to work to find a solution. But before we get to the solution, let’s start where the story was born – in the beautiful Mediterranean.

Father and son duo Roberto and Pietro Brembilla own an olive farm in Bolgheri, Italy, a small village located in the heart of Northern Tuscany. They started producing olive oil and other olive-based products with the fruits of their farm. Expanding their horizons, they decided to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams in the U.S. In 2007, Sogno Toscano was born. Italian for “Tuscan Dream,” Sogno Toscano started as a family run company offering a wide variety of olive oils and olive oil-based products, including a cosmetic line. For the first few years, they built their business through wholesale clients such as restaurants, local retailers and grocers.

Wagner relies on The UPS Store expertise for packing, shipping and logistics.

In 2011, Pietro approached a man named Glenn Wagner, a local grocer employee, to recommend and discuss the Sogno Toscano olive oil with his customers. Wagner agreed to do so and also set up a demo table for customers to taste the product, rapidly increasing sales at the local grocer. This consumer interaction sparked Sogno Toscano’s first invite to a local event to sell their olive oil directly to the consumer, which had not previously been explored before.

“Pietro and I got a credit card machine, set up our booth and just went for it,” said Wagner. “In two days we made more than $8,000 from selling the olive oil direct to customers. This was the first time Sogno Toscano expanded outside the local grocer and restaurant space and it was a huge success. Pietro was so excited and told me that anytime I wanted to leave my job and start a new division at Sogno Toscano, to come knock on his door.”

And that is exactly what Wagner did. In November of 2011, he started building what is now a successful events and online retail division of Sogno Toscano. Like any small business in its growth stages, Wagner needed assistance from time to time with packing, shipping and other small business services. He frequently visited The UPS Store around the corner from their headquarters in Scottsdale, Ariz. and formed a relationship with UPS Store Franchisee Ken Davis and General Manager Helen Novak. At first, the packing and shipping of their product started small, sending samples to new grocers and restaurants as well as fulfilling event-based orders.

As Wagner’s new direct sales division grew, so did Sogno Toscano’s need for a more robust packing, shipping and inventory partnership with The UPS Store. Currently, The UPS Store fills anywhere from one to 20 orders per day – both online through the Sogno Toscano e-commerce platform, as well as orders sent via email directly to The UPS Store from Wagner and his on-site events teams. They also have a large Sogno Toscano product inventory inside the store, allowing orders to be placed, filled and shipped in the same day. Wagner relies on The UPS Store expertise for packing, shipping and logistics, so he and his team can focus on generating revenue, spreading awareness and developing new products.

“We are truly in the problem-solving business when our customers realize we are their partner,” shared Davis, The UPS Store franchisee. “We are there to provide a solution and the support to help them grow.”

With a constantly evolving relationship, Davis and Novak also provide solutions for Sogno Toscano’s printing needs. They print menus, product cards, booth display signs, brochures and even custom labels.

“Working with Sogno Toscano is a rewarding experience,” said Novak, The UPS Store general manager. “We have watched Pietro’s dream of selling his authentic olive oil grow into a successful reality. At The UPS Store we are a family and now we are one family helping another.”

Wagner is thankful for this strong, growing relationship. “The UPS Store deals with our customers every day, representing Sogno Toscano. They truly take our business to heart. As our busy event schedule increases product demand, we may be expanding to more than one UPS Store and we know we can rely on continued quality service,” noted Wagner.

With summer coming to a close, Wagner and his 20-person events team are preparing themselves for a busy fall and winter of events, festivals and holiday demand. Their multi-bottle olive oil sets with personalized cards will soon be the hot ticket item for both corporate and personal gift orders filled through The UPS Store. In addition, they now offer Sogno Toscano cooking classes and plan to expand their 50-plus product line, always experimenting with new infused oils and recipe pairings.

Are you an entrepreneur looking for packing, shipping and other small business services? Find your local The UPS Store and allow us to find solutions to your business challenges today.

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