Our Story...

Where Healthy is Simply Delicious!

Big Horn Olive Oil Company is locally owned and operated by Mercedes and John Burkavage. There are three locations in Nevada. The first two are in Reno and the third is located in Summerlin, Las Vegas.

Mercedes from childhood yearned be a retailer like her parents and grandparents. Her love for food started early on with hands on experience in the kitchen with her nanny. Her motherʼs interest in healthy eating also peaked her interest in the health benefits of foods. Having a large family, the kitchen was always a gathering spot and a place to share the love of food with family.

John also from childhood understood to joy of food. One of his first jobs was picking fruits and vegetables early in the morning in New Jersey and getting them back to sell in their small town near Philadelphia. Gathering around the table was a daily ritual at the Burkavages!

John and Mercedes lived in Greenville SC for 3 years before their daughter Julie and her family moved to Greenville due to a devastating house fire at their home in Florida.

Mercedes was selling and marketing olive oil soap for her daughter Audrey, who has been making and gifting soap since her early 20ʻs. Julie saw that there was an olive oil store opening in Greenville, so she made the assumption that the people that love olive oil would also love our olive oil soap! She was RIGHT!

When John and Mercedes moved to Reno, NV in 2011, they brought the soap making equipment with them. What they left behind was the olive oil and balsamic vinegars they had learned to enjoy in Greenville. Mercedes started to look for these products in Reno. No where to be found!

Sipping on a glass of wine at the Mayberry Landing Shopping Center, she looked up and noticed a shop for lease. Informing John that there was no luck in finding the products she was looking for, they both agreed that this location would be perfect for an Olive Oil and Balsamic Tasting Room.

Big Horn, (really spelled bighorn! Oops!) represents our Nevada State mammal.
The logo, (a petroglyph) is symbolic of simplicity.
The slogan, “Where healthy is simply delicious!”, represents the actual products carried in the store. Nutritious, Delicious and Simple!

Great friends and family are a blessing! With the help of new and old friends, Mercedes got her first retail store opened in late September 2012. The second store opened in the South Creek Shopping Center at the request of her customers at the south end of town. The Summerlin, Las Vegas location came at the request of Veronica, the owner of Veronica Foods, the supplier of these great products.

In Las Vegas, she enlisted the help from her grandsons, Frank and Joe from Nashville, along with her third daughter Monica and her husband, Alex, who embraced the idea of “Mema”, (aka Mercedes) being closer to their little son, JB.

Being in need of a full time manager, we looked at the possibility of Julie and her family moving to Las Vegas and joining the family business. Julie (now store manager) and family arrived in the fall of 2014, and brings with her years of retail management experience.

Mercedes bounces from store to store as needed and really enjoys the customers she serves. She takes great pride in educating her customers about the health benefits of the Olive Oils and Balsamic vinegars that she carries in the stores. “We carry the top 5 % of all olive oils and balsamic vinegars in the world,” she will be heard saying. “They are all sensory evaluated, lab tested and certified.”

She also loves informing customers about the specifications for Olive harvest, the shelf life of olive oil and balsamic vinegars, and the crush date. But mostly she enjoys the pairings of olive oils with the balsamic vinegars to make dressings, marinades, drinks, glazes etc.

“This is my LARGE crayon box....I love to color with my palate!”

Customers are always asking for a cookbook. Well, the first cookbook will be out by the end of the year.

“We are blessed, thankful and grateful to our communities in Reno and Las Vegas who enjoy our great products and our simple store!”

Oh, and by the way, youʼll always find that homemade Olive Oil Soap right by the cash register at each store, that started this whole adventure.