Why Gemz?

12 Aug

It was a busy one in all five of our neighborhoods this week – which is why you get to hear about us instead of a local business 🙂 We started Gemz to help local businesses, plain and simple. Yes – we are a technology company and sometimes tech and local business don’t play nice, but so far, so good! That is part of the reason we made our platform so customizable – so businesses can create great offers for shoppers that don’t kill their bottom line. Now for some updates about us:

We are super excited to launch Cal Gemz in the next couple weeks – this is going to be a combination of businesses surrounding campus, Northside, Southside and Downtown Berkeley. We also have a few great updates to the application for users including a  referral feature that will allow you to share the app and get great bonus Gemz for doing so. Lastly – there are going to be lots of Gemz events upcoming and we invite you to join them! Monday is our Rockridge / Elmwood merchant appreciate night at TOAST starting at 5pm and we also have some great things in store in Menlo Park, Half Moon Bay, on Solano Avenue and near Cal. Be on the lookout!

We are always open to your feedback and thoughts – so feel free to drop us an email to info@localgemz.com. A big thank you from the Gemz team and happy Friday!!


Choice and Quality in Abundance at The Olive Crush

5 Aug

Get a FREE bottle of olive oil or balsamic vinegar at The Olive Crush in San Carlos for 5,000 Gemz – get the Gemz App on your iPhone today!


Since it’s located at 653 Laurel Street in the middle of downtown San Carlos, finding The Olive Crush is a fairly easy exercise. It’s leaving that becomes a big problem, because there are simply so many incredible olive oil and balsamic vinegars to choose from you may want to stay and taste all night long.

This is less than half of the oils offered by The Olive Crush.

Given the high number of “foodies” in the Bay area there are probably many of us who think we know what a good olive oil tastes like. But entering The Olive Crush is like going on an “On Beyond Zebra” trip through taste sensations that you never knew existed — like Blood Orange olive oil, Persian Lime olive oil and Strawberry Balsamic vinegar, just for starters. With more than 35 choices of olive oils and more than 20 of Balsamic vinegar this isn’t just a place to get high-quality, fresh oils; it’s a starting point for recipes and quality dishes that you might not have imagined possible.

How to combine oils and vinegars for maximum flavor.

The good news is that Mike, who opened The Olive Crush in October of 2010, has posted a “Perfect Pairs” list of top flavor combinations to help get you started. And since The Olive Crush has a sampling license Mike can concoct a little tasting right there in the store — say, a salad dressing of blood orange olive oil and strawberry Balsamic vinegar, which when he prepared it for us had us looking around for a bowl of fresh greens.

“This is a great place for people who want to prepare something extraordinary,” Mike said. “It doesn’t take a lot to kick your meal up 10 notches.”

While the sheer number of oil and vinegar choices puts The Olive Crush way ahead of many of the area’s specialty supermarkets, the quality of the products is also similarly off the charts. In his friendly teaching manner Mike explained that most store-shelf, mass-produced extra-virgin olive oils are probably a year old by the time they get to your grocer. For The Olive Crush, Mike buys only gold-medal winning oils seasonally as close as he can to harvest time, meaning that depending on the time of year you might be choosing from oils produced in either the northern or southern hemispheres — say, either from Spain or from Chile.

If you don’t think that makes a difference, simply stop by The Olive Crush and have Mike or one of his sons lift the lid on any of the shining steel oil bins and take a whiff. Even though some restaurant chefs are regular customers, you don’t need to be a professional food preparer to know quality and freshness; just trust your nose.

Does this sound good? Trust us, it tastes good too.

Need more reasons to visit? How about an equally wide range of handmade pastas to choose from (including 10 different varieties of gluten-free pasta) made by specialty producer Pappardelle’s Pasta, which are typically only available at farmer’s markets. How about some dark chocolate linguine for a new twist on dessert? Mike’s happy to break off a chunk of the dried pasta to whet your appetite. There are also specialty salts offered here, if you ever get done tasting all the oils, vinegars and possible combinations. Like we said: after spending some time tasting The Olive Crush’s many choices, leaving will be the hardest task you face.

Ask Mike about Gemz: he’ll give you a FREE bottle of olive oil or balsamic vinegar for 5,000 Gemz.

The Olive Crush, at 653 Laurel in San Carlos.

Full details and menu suggestions for each oil.

With so many choices, leaving here is the hardest part.

Photo credits: Localgemz.

Why San Carlos?

21 Jul

For those of you who haven’t had the chance to visit San Carlos yet, we thought we would do a little intro post about it so you would know what to expect! San Carlos is situated nearly halfway between San Francisco and San Jose just north of Redwood City.  Downtown San Carlos starts at the intersection of San Carlos Avenue and Laurel Street and it is choked full of great eateries and shops. It’s easy to get there driving via 101, using the SamTrans bus system or Caltrain, as the station is just blocks from Laurel Street. San Carlos’ small town shopping environment is the perfect getaway from the bustling city life of San Francisco or San Jose. It’s also a great place for people to learn a bit about the rich history of the Silicon Valley at the San Carlos Historical Museum.

Laurel Street is host to the weekly farmer’s market which is every Thursday evening throughout the summer and is known as Hot Harvest Nights. People from all over the Bay area can enjoy this seasonal treat from 4PM to 8 PM- it’s also a great place to unwind with live music after a long day. Not to mention supporting the local community shops and certified produce!

There are numerous places that are unique to San Carlos including the specialty food store, The Olive Crush. They offer an impressive selection of great olive oils, balsamic vinegars, salts, and a variety of pastas that all will enjoy. If The Olive Crush’s variety of savory specialty foods are not your cup of tea, Glinda’s Fudge and More will surely win you over! It’s reminiscent of the perfect little candy store that you see in movies. Once you enter the sweet and delectable aroma of popcorn and cotton candy makes it irresistible not to purchase your favorite childhood sweet! Not only are these stores amazing to shop it – you can also earn Gemz at both of them! So stop by and check them out now 🙂

Welcome to Shop San Carlos!

15 Jul

Laurel Park Downtown

What IS ShopSanCarlos, you may ask? We believe that local communities can be improved by encouraging more local residents to spend their time and money in their local community and with locally owned businesses. The vibrant shopping and dining experiences of Laurel Street are part of what makes San Carlos a great city. And local business contribute more than you might think to the health of our city — some of the taxes they pay go directly into the city general fund, contributing to our ability to have the services we rely on. A healthy shopping district also directly impacts property values which for homeowners in San Carlos can make a big impact for us personally.

Even a small shift in spending by local residents from online or from chains and malls back to our local community can have a big impact for our town. We started this blog in order to highlight great local people and the businesses that they run here in San Carlos.

This blog is written by the team at Gemz, which is a local loyalty program which is striving to help these merchants succeed. To that end, we will occasionally share a great offer that a particular merchant may have that week. We look forward to your feedback and hope you enjoy!

Thanks to Rebecca Williamson for this great Creative Commons photo posted to Flickr