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“In crisis situations it is necessary to take the initiative and reinvent oneself”

Francisco Leno, co-owner of the Oleoteca La Chinata de Chamberí, Madrid.

Áurea García and Francisco Leno open the doors of their Oleoteca La Chinata in the Madrid neighborhood of Chamberí, which they have run since 2012

A native of Extremadura, specifically from a small town near the Monfragüe National Park, in Cáceres, Francisco left the town like so many other countrymen when he was just a child, at the end of the 1960s. 

A geographer by profession, he has developed his entire career in the field of tourism research and public management, until the crisis led him to reinvent himself. “In crisis situations it is necessary to take the initiative and reinvent yourself. For this reason, we decided on a sector (olive oil) in which we had some very close friends with in-depth knowledge of the subject, and for a dynamic, innovative and local company”, says the owner.

They chose the Chamberí neighborhood to establish their business, one of the most traditional districts of Madrid, with a highly varied population. Families rooted in the neighborhood for many generations live here, with young people, university students and professionals, who have chosen this neighborhood for its character and centrality. In addition, it has a wide commercial offer, both traditional establishments and large stores. As with a wide cultural offer with theaters, cinemas, museums...

After eight years in charge of the Oleoteca La Chinata de Chamberí, the owners tell us about their beginnings and the keys to consolidating their business.

"We decided on a dynamic, innovative and down-to-earth company," says Francisco

– How was the beginning?

All beginnings are difficult. It was an activity that we were not familiar with, a wide variety of products, a new brand in the neighborhood and an important investment that had to be amortized with effort and a lot of dedication.

Eight years after opening, we can say that the business is fully consolidated and that it is a benchmark in the neighborhood, both in gourmet products, cosmetics and gift items.

What are the keys to success?

Two aspects must be highlighted as keys to success: the product, its quality, variety, price, presentation and customer loyalty through a direct and very personal treatment. In this area there are a good number of gourmet establishments, but curiously we are already perhaps one of the oldest around this area.

As keys to success, they point out the quality and variety of the product, the price, the presentation, and the loyalty of the client through a direct and very personal treatment. 

– How has the pandemic been experienced in the business?

It has really been a very hard blow to the very survival of the business for several reasons: the brutal competition from online sales, the total disappearance of the tourist market and companies, the absence of social and family gatherings, the non-holding of events and the own confinement that imposed a closure of the business for a few months.

– What measures have been taken in response to the pandemic?

Two types of measures have been taken; On the one hand, hygienic-sanitary measures in the premises such as the mandatory use of a mask, capacity control, the installation of hydroalcoholic gel dispensers, the use of disposable gloves, screens... And, on the other hand, care measures and customer loyalty, providing free home delivery despite the very little room for manoeuvre.

– How is the immediate future being faced during the pandemic in the business?

Regarding the future, it is uncertain and decisions will have to be made as events take place, both at the level of the pandemic, with a vaccination process that sheds some light, at the level of market operation, with a sale online totally triggered and against which traditional commerce has few possibilities.

"Regarding the future, it is uncertain and decisions will have to be made as events unfold," they say. 

– What do your customers value most about the Oleoteca?

Undoubtedly the quality of the product and personalized customer service.

– What are the products that are sold the most in the Oleoteca?

Perhaps we could highlight the Truffle Seasoning in the gourmet section and the 300 gram soap and the EVOO Hand Cream in the cosmetics section.

– About cosmetics, what do you think makes it stand out from the rest?

Especially the fact that it is made with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a product increasingly associated with health benefits. On the other hand, their price and presentation make them very competitive products compared to other brands. 

– Any special weakness in a personal capacity for any of the products you sell?

I love chocolate, particularly dark chocolate. For this reason, perhaps the Dark Chocolate with Extra Virgin Olive Oil is one of my favorite products together with the Tortilla Potatoes (very practical), the Madrileña-style Tripe, as well as the Fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Owner/s: Aurea Garcia and Francisco Leno
Address: c/ Bravo Murillo, 4. 28015 Madrid
Schedule: Monday - Friday: 10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
– Saturdays: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
– Sundays and holidays: closed
E-mail:[email protected]
Virtual visitVirtual visit La Chinata Chamberí Oil Library

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