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Editor's Note: This story is unlocked for everyone to read courtesy of the CRVA, our partner in nourishing culinary exploration for residents and visitors of the Queen City.

November 2, 2021

Local business has one of Oprah’s Favorite Things

Now, there’s a rush to ensure the product is in stock despite supply issues

Zia Pia’s Apertivo Gift Set was featured by Oprah. Photo courtesy

Zia Pia Imports, an Italian goods importer and wholesaler, has been selected as a part of Oprah’s Favorite Things, O Magazine’s annual gift guide. The business’s Apertivo Gift Set will be featured in the holiday issue of the magazine. At $112, the set includes two containers of Coratina extra virgin olive oil, a ceramic dipping bowl, and a jar of olives. The area of Italy where the Frantoio Muraglia olive oil is sourced from, Apulia, is known for its olive oil and ceramics.

“To have been selected was amazing,” Zia Pia owner Victoria Custodi says. “It was game changing news; we were super excited about it — but of course it happens this year, when everything’s crazy with the supply chain.”

Since learning of their inclusion in Oprah’s Favorite Things, Custodi says she’s been working on ensuring they have the gift set on hand for holiday shoppers. Given the fact that the gift set is imported from Italy and pandemic-related supply chain issues linger, she’s had to hustle to ensure the product stays in stock. While she expects to sell out what they have on hand at any moment, 1,200 new gift sets are on a ship making their way to the United States. Without additional delays — the arrival has already been pushed back once — she anticipates the kits arriving to port in Savannah on Nov. 10. To circumvent possible trucking delays, she’s already planning to rent a truck to pick them up and bring them back to Charlotte for a back-in-stock date of Nov. 15.

Upon hearing that they’d made the list, Custodi immediately reached out to her suppliers, who put together her order as soon as possible. According to Custodi, both Oprah’s team and customers have been understanding of the fact that things might be backordered here or there due to the supply chain issues.

We had some items in stock that we will sell out of today — we just have a few left and will be gone by today — and we’re now awaiting the arrival of our container,” Custodi says. “As soon as that arrives, we’ll be back in stock and then we have another container coming in following. We will have plenty in stock. It’s just delayed.”

For a small business — especially one looking to serve customers across the country — the mention can bring a huge boost to the business. Custodi says the additional 1,200 gift sets may not sound like much, but it’s a great boost to business for her — and the publicity is introducing a wider audience to Zia Pia.

Zia Pia formerly had a home in The Market at 7th Street , serving Italian dishes and Italian dry goods, before moving out of the market during the pandemic and focusing on online sales from a warehouse on Monroe Road. Those who shop the online store can pick items up at the warehouse via curbside pickup.

See the full list of Oprah’s Favorite Things, including Zia Pia’s olive oil gift set, here.

“I love Oprah anyway and who doesn’t? She’s just so inspiring,” Custodi says. “And so it’s been really an honor to have been selected for her list this year, in the middle of this post-pandemic supply chain.”

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