Part I: An Overview of the Trip
Written by Mary Pat Abruzzo.
Over this past semester my fellow SIBC members and I had the amazing opportunity to work on a project for Mike Sisois and his father Mikes Sisois, who are attempting to start their Sisois Family Olive Oil business and bring it to the U.S. market. After many months of hard work and research, a few of our project team members including myself were chosen to be on the traveling team to present in Crete, Greece, where the Sisios Family Olive Oil Grove is located.
First, we traveled to Athens where we had full days, wandering the streets of Plaka, exploring the Parthenon and eating a gyro or two. Out next stop was in Crete, where the Sisois Family olive grove is located. In the morning, we met Mike Sisois and his father Mikes Sisois to give our presentation. Our presentation included a market analysis to help their small family business branch out to the U.S. market and suggested timeline on a plan for the Sisois Family Olive Oil. This presentation was an amazing way to learn the steps and barriers of starting a new business. It allowed us to gain real world experience in seeing how a small business could expand into the U.S. market.
After the presentation Mike Sisois and his father brought us to their family friend’s house, where we experienced Greek hospitality at its finest, we were served endless cookies, nuts and dates. Next we went to the Olive Oil pressing factory where we walked through every step of making olive oil, from the point where the olives reach the factory to the barrels where the oil is stored. We ended the tour with an olive oil tasting, where they took a pitcher of fresh olive oil directly from the barrels and poured it over fresh bread. This was the freshest olive oil I have ever tasted. It wouldn’t be a proper olive oil tasting without homemade dalos, cheese and olives on the side.
Next we were given a tour of the Sisois Olive Oil Grove, a small grove with a view of the coast of Crete. We learned the process of olive tree harvest and maintenance. If we weren’t already full from the olive oil tasting, we were given more fruit and pastries at the grove. If there if one thing I learned on this trip, it is that Greek hospitality is unlike anything I have experienced! We were welcomed to Greece with open arms and lots of food. Overall, this trip was an amazing way to experience Greek culture through business. I was able to experience firsthand the care of a small family business and meet the people who made a quality product. It was an honor to work with the Sisois family and learn about not only process of making oil olive but about the Greek culture. They were able to open their homes to
us and allow us to have experience Greek culture through family, friends and of course olive oil.