Imported From Greece, Handcrafted in Sanford

Roy Hebert of DÁFNI Greek Products at his store in the lower Mid Town Mall on Riverside Ave.

Tucked away in the lower Mid Town Mall is a unique and special business that sells its wares to happy customers all over the eastern United States. DÁFNI Greek Products was established over ten years ago in Saco by Daphne Rioux, a native of Greece. On a trip to visit her birthplace, Ms. Rioux fell in love with the olives grown in the region and the oil that is made from them. Before long, she bought a farm and began importing the olives and oil here to Maine.

After working hard for several years, she hired Roy Hebert to help her find a buyer for the manufacturing and retail side of the business, so she could concentrate on the farm. Mr. Hebert, a native of California who relocated to Maine after a career in the wireless industry, had made a name for himself here as a consultant, helping people start businesses, formulate business plans and secure financing. He was so impressed with DÁFNI’s products, he ended up buying the company himself.

At that point the store was located in Biddeford, but last year, when the company’s lease in the Pepperell Mill was up, he made the move to Sanford. Here he found a landlord more interested in helping him succeed, and hasn’t looked back. DÁFNI has become a good citizen in the community, donating money and products to the St. Thérèse Food Closet.

Cold-pressed, unfiltered premium extra-virgin olive oil, which Mr. Hebert calls “liquid gold,” is the company’s signature product. He and his four employees bottle the oil and mix it into dressings and marinades. Lemóni, made with organic lemon juice, is great on grilled fish and seafood. Sodium-free Balsamiko is made with aged Italian balsamic vinegar and Maine-grown garlic, and pairs well with steak, chicken and bruschetta. Kokkíno is a red wine vinaigrette suited to salads, pork or chicken, and roasted potatoes.

In addition to the oil and dressings, DÁFNI also sells kalamata olives and cracked green olives with lemon, their own mountain-grown oregano, mountain tea and olive oil soap.

Before the pandemic, much of DÁFNI’s business was at shows like the Boston Flower Show. When all the shows were cancelled last year, they focused on e-commerce, and selling wholesale to specialty stores throughout Maine and New Hampshire. They also sell at farmer’s markets across the northeast. Mr. Hebert hopes that as the pandemic eases, shows will again become an important part of the company’s retail mix.

While most of the company’s sales are to customers elsewhere, they also have a small retail shop open Monday through Friday. They value their local customers too, and are happy to offer a 10% discount to any Sanford resident.

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