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Oleoteca La Chinata Raval: "People tend to think that gourmet products can only be obtained at higher prices"

Óscar Mondragón and Liliana Uribe are the owners of the Oleoteca La Chinata del Raval y del Born, two Colombians located in Barcelona for 15 years, who have opened the doors of their business to us to tell us how their adventure in La Chinata began and what they are the keys to the success of their business, in which they have been immersed since 2013.

First they opened the La Chinata olive oil library in Raval. And years later, they launched a second Oleoteca in another of the most touristic areas of Barcelona, the Born district.

Its Oleoteca del Raval has a peculiarity, a space with a lot of charm, which they wanted to harmonize with the area, closely linked to art and culture, through artistic exhibitions.

For its part, the Oleoteca del Born was inaugurated a few months ago and they are currently working on its positioning.

The couple has a great professional career. On the one hand, Óscar Mondragón studied Business Administration with an MBA in Business Management and worked for 12 years in the logistics of advertising production, in addition to managing all the administrative and accounting aspects.

Similarly, Liliana Uribe is an Interior Designer with a Master's in Tourism Management and worked for 10 years as a Project Manager in a company dedicated to building stands for fairs and exhibitions.

They both tell us about their experience as owners of the two La Chinata olive oil stores located in Barcelona...

  • The beginnings are usually complicated, how was it for you?

The first thing was the achievement of a place that complied not only with the parameters of La Chinata, but also with our own expectations and the permits and inspections set by the City Council. And there is the personal commitment to the business. The only way to get a project like this off the ground is to invest a lot of time and effort.

  • How was the first stage?

When we decided to open La Chinata Raval, I retired from my job to dedicate myself completely to this project. My wife continued working in her company, for this reason the beginning was very complicated since she did not have employees and I was the one who opened and closed the Oleoteca. They were very long days and many hours of dedication, but I also got to know the client very well, and above all, the product.

  • What is the key to making La Chinata attractive to the public?

It is essential to have a broad knowledge of the product that is being sold.

The managers of La Chinata do an impeccable job in terms of the diversity of products, the image of the brand and are constantly growing to meet the needs of our customers. This makes the brand so attractive to our customers, not just the new customer, but the repeat customer. We did not know anything about Extra Virgin Olive Oil and we did not imagine that so many things could be done with it.

  • Your La Chinata oil libraries are located in two privileged areas of Barcelona, one between the Cathedral of the Sea and the Born Cultural Center and another in the Raval. Why did you choose these places?

We knew that there was no franchise in the center of Barcelona, in the Ciutat Vella area. Barcelona is a purely tourist city and we felt it was necessary to be able to offer this product to people interested in trying national flavors during their stay and bringing a different from the conventional souvenir.  

As for cosmetics, natural products are gaining more and more strength. Being able to offer a wide range of products based on Extra Virgin Olive Oil has great appeal.

This concept is increasingly sought after by those who visit a country like Spain, where its Extra Virgin Olive Oil is known worldwide. For this reason, I have worked to position myself as one of the main gourmet stores focused on the sector.

  • Tell me about your promotional work...

From the beginning a great work has been done that has managed to make us known. There are several publications in different languages and already people come expressly looking for us. We have the convoy of La Chinata Oil and Vinegar for some restaurants in the area.

There are "walking tours" that have us already included in their journey, to which a special tasting is done and we belong to Turisme de Barcelona, specifically to the Shopping Line.

There are also local people who are already regular users of several of the products.

  • You opened the Oleoteca del Born a few months ago…

La Oleoteca del Born, although it is perhaps a more touristy area, is a more local customer. Tourists in this area go more with guided visits to museums and churches and with little time to stop.

It is a complicated area, since when having a walk, people walk more there and not so much on the sidewalks. We opened a few months ago, and for this reason I think it needs more time and dedication to position it.

It is located next to the majestic Cathedral of Santa María del Mar and the recently inaugurated Cultural Center of the Mercat del Born.

  • They also hold art exhibitions. What values does this commitment to culture and art bring to your Oleoteca?

There have been exhibitions of painting, sound art, olive wood furniture, conceptual art and textile expo, among others. The idea was born because the basement of La Chinata Raval is a spectacular space of one hundred square meters, with exposed stone walls, diaphanous, restored but preserving the original architecture. I thought that being next to museums should make a contribution to culture and be a means for the artist to offer his work to people from all over the world who pass through our store. In turn, it also serves as a promotion for the store and we have managed to make visiting La Chinata an experience for the senses, taste, touch and also visual.

It is a symbiosis, we leave the space free for the artist and at the same time we offer a wide tasting on the opening day. In return, we receive new people, potential customers (mostly local).

  • When will the next one be?

The next exhibition will be in charge of a young French artist named Roxanne. It will be of Pop-Art type painting and the inauguration will take place on Thursday, March 30.

  • What do you think makes you stand out from the rest of the gourmet establishments in your area?

Without a doubt, the first thing they comment on is how beautiful the site is. Unlike the rest of the Oleotecas, the construction is original, with stone floors, exposed brick, vaulted ceilings... all this makes it unique. The Borne venue, although much smaller and with a very different distribution, keeps the same line, having exposed stone arches.

Regarding the products, of course what they comment the most is the value for money. People often think that gourmet products can only be obtained at higher prices. Another common comment is how attractive the packaging is, the design is very well cared for.

  • What do you do when a new product arrives?

I am the first to try it, I give my opinion, I read a little about its main components and I transmit all that emotion to my employees, in this way I provide important tools for sales.  

  • What are the values you try to project?

Customer service. I cannot conceive of a company that does not have as its first objective to provide a quality service to its client. We try to make your stay in our stores an experience where you can try different products, smell and feel others so that you are sure to take something that you really like or with which you think you can impress those who think of giving it to you as a gift. We always want the customer to return and for this reason, we do everything possible to make their experience in the store a pleasant moment.

  • For you, a satisfied customer is a customer who…

Word of mouth is known to be what makes businesses grow. Whoever gets a good impression will surely comment on it to others, either personally or through networks. Additionally, whoever is happy with the treatment and later with the product, returns safely.

  • What is the most satisfying part of your job?

I really like what we sell, I feel safe and supported by a quality product and I transmit that to my employees. We have great support from the head office, the entire Plasencia team, it is a close family business, which makes you feel that you are part of the great La Chinata family, and this is a very important part so that you can move forward with your project.

  • And in the community?

Currently, what makes me happiest is being able to generate employment for other people and transmit knowledge to my employees so that they can somehow use it in their future companies. We live in a very difficult time at all levels and I believe that the best thing you can give is to do things with love, respect and admiration for what you do. Everything that is done in this way will have a guaranteed share of success.

Information of interest


owners Oscar Mondragon and Liliana Uribe
Address Raval – Carrer dels Angels 20 CP 08001
Borne – Passeig del Born 11 CP 08003
Contact 93 4816940 (Raval) / 93 5417444 (Born) / 699560501 (Mobile)
[email protected] , [email protected]
Social networks Facebook: lachinatabarcelonaTwitter: @lachinatabarcel

Instagram: #lachinatabarcelona

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