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any advice on opening fresh seafood store

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
hello all...not sure where to place this...

I have an opportunity to open a fresh seafood market on Long Island and am looking for any advice...it will be a small 12 foot display in an existing deli...looking for staples I should def have and any advice from soemone with experiance in this as I have none...also looking to turn it into a take out during the summer since it is near a beach and right on the water...any advice or ideas would be great as this will be a first for me...would also be willing to pay a small consulting fee for hands-on assistance...thanks...
post #2 of 4

You might want to put it in the Professional Catering Forum - loads of ppl there with experience in catering who will be happy to share.

I'm not a professional so you can take what I say or leave it :) If I were a customer in such a place as you describe... I'd be looking for:

Prawns - both raw, peeled and cooked, peeled and unpeeled.
Calamari - rings and whole
Squid - whole
Whole cleaned fish - whatever is local and seasonal
Marina mix
Filleted fish, several varieties - again, local and seasonal
Salmon Steaks
A line of pre-crumbed fish fillets
Live crabs if you would have the facilities for them
Fresh Mussels
Fresh Clams
Fresh Scallops
Fresh Oysters

The sort of place you describe is what I'd like to have access to here, but most of our stuff is exported (I'm in Tasmania, Australia).

Would also have a supply of limes, lemons, associated sauces, fresh and dried herbs etc avail so they can get it all from you, if that's the lines you are looking along

That's just the ingredients I would be looking for as a customer. As for the set-up and what is actually do-able, well heck I'm a duck out of water!

Good luck - hope it comes together for you.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
great...thanks for the reply...it all helps..also tried Catering as you suggested...
post #4 of 4
Yeah, my advice is PLEASE OPEN IT NEAR ME:bounce:

I would say it would be good to make the origin readily known, especially of some more local specialties. Are those scallops from Plymouth, is that striped bass from Gloucester, etc... People are getting on the bandwagon of wanting to know more about the origin of their food. Even if everything isn't from impressive wild caught local origin, it looks good on you if some things are obviously that way, and I would have that labelled right on the fish in the display case. I would try to get in with restaurants and caterers as that could be your bread and butter versus walkups as well.

You could also sell fish stock you make from the scraps, as a profitable item, and your customers will love you for having this ready for them. I'd probably pay $3.95 for a small container (2 cups). Use a good quality sea salt like the grey stuff, a few herbs, a little lemon, etc. You can freeze it too if it's easier (or offer both), freezing will control leakage, and gives customers an ice block in their order.

I'm thinking you could take a drive down to Woods in Plymouth, they have an operation that might be of interest to you. Small counter with great and very fresh seafood, they sell ready made chowder and lobster bisque, and if my memory serves me correctly, they have a little place for simple takeout and meals. Locals seem to love that place and recommend it heartily.

Every time I've bought their seafood the quality has been outstanding. I might be choosing from a less than comprehensive selection, I may have gone in there wanting something they didn't have and had to buy an alternate, but I would rather go into a seafood shop that had less selection but everything was fantastic and fresh, than one that felt they had to stock every type of seafood known to man but not optimum stuff in each case.

If you're mostly retail, you might think of having a small assortment of index-sized recipe cards with well-developed recipes and your logo and phone number and address on it. Say Paella, seafood risotto, or Zuppa di Pesche, and a few simple to prepare fish recipes, to give people more ideas and make them spend more. You could have an assortment of recipes, then put them out in card holders depending on what you're more eager to "move", so if you've got a lot of clams, put out the card for Linguine vongole.

You want to try to "up sell" people and have them buy more than they intended to, rice doesn't go bad, if you can get an extra $5 out of customers for a good arborio or jar of capers and look like you're being considerate having a few other things for their convenience, that's great. LOL keep that little display well dusted, I find these types of additional items sometimes gather dust in shops, and that doesn't look good on them or you.

You will have to think of inexpensive promotion probably at first. Don't underestimate the value of educating your customers, for example if they're buying a fish, tell them how they can know it's fresh, by the eyes, by the smell, etc., so they learn to go to you as the specialist they can trust. Even if a sale is already made and someone's asking for 10 pounds of salmon filet, tell them, oh this is nice stuff, it came in this morning, etc... because you're selling your shop even though you've already sold the fish. Have answers for their cooking questions.

If that deli already has traffic, if you crunch your numbers well, I'd say you're in a great situation. I think in general it's difficult for people to get their hands on good seafood, if you do it right it should work. If that deli is mostly lunch business, make sure you're open late enough for people to grab stuff on the way home from work. You could also sell those silver thermal bags for people to get stuff home cold.

My other two cents is don't lie about things that are farmed being wild. Consumer reports tested 23 samples of fish in shops said to be wild salmon, and 16 of them were farmed:rolleyes:. Many people can taste the difference.

Also take a good look at the area you're in and what types of items people will want you to have. Are there "ethnic" specialties you should carry? Where I live there are ethnic parts of town, so say I was in an area with a significant portuguese community I would make sure I carried salt cod.
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