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Transitioning from law school and firm work to launching an olive oil and vinegar business is not the most traditional career path, but for Jim Maloney ’91, it has proven to be a professionally and personally enriching experience.
Since opening olive oil and vinegar purveyor Tuscany on Main in June 2011, Jim Maloney '91 has carefully yet quickly expanded his family's business, opening a second store in Buffalo, N.Y., and becoming a supplier for a luxury hotel in Florida, local restaurants, a culinary school, and the Wegmans grocery chain.
Among Maloney's strategic decisions has been using local suppliers, refusing to franchise the company, and eschewing much in the way of an online presence.
"Absolutely not," he said of selling online when interviewed for a profile in the Buffalo News. "I want customers to come in and taste the products. We're not going to be selling blindly online."
Today, Tuscany on Main sells more than 30 olive oils, including flavors such as habanero and blood orange, and more than 40 balsamic vinegars.
"The average stay in our store is 30 minutes, so people really slow down, relax and enjoy themselves," said Maloney.
Tuscany on Main also serves as a gathering space for Maloney's family, including his wife, who runs the business with him, and their two daughters, aged two and five.
"You can often find them in the store with my wife and me, or traveling with us as we search out new products," Maloney said.
After graduating from Albany Law School, Maloney worked as a tax attorney at a large firm in Buffalo for seven years. While still practicing law, he purchased Buffalo Hardwood, a flooring company, in an effort to transition into more regular hours on behalf of his growing family.
Initially, Tuscany on Main was intended to be nothing more than a fun family side project.
"We both love to cook, and we thought the store would be fun," Maloney said in the Buffalo News feature. "We were surprised from the very beginning at how good business was."
Looking back at his time at Albany Law, Maloney reflected on the unexpected directions his life has taken.
"While studying for Con Law or practicing for Moot Court, I never thought about where I would wind up or what path my career would take," he said. "But years later, I have now developed a deep appreciation for what I learned and how I learned it."
"Much of what has transpired over the past two decades would not have been possible but for my time at Albany Law," he concluded.