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Editor's Note: A tribute to specialty retailers

Fiona Robinson
By Fiona Robinson
July 01, 2005

SeaFood Business introduced Best Buyers five years ago to give readers an "in the trenches" look at influential buyers who are dedicated to sourcing top-quality seafood. We've profiled many buyers over the years, including Sysco's John Pollock, Bob Chinn of Bob Chinn's Crabhouse, Kenny Bowers at Rockfish Seafood Grill and Jonathan Copeland at Wild Oats. This year we took a different approach and shifted the focus to a specific buying segment  specialty retailers. Our top story profiles some up-and-coming buyers in that category.

Consumers turn to specialty retailers for quality products and great customer service. Seafood sells best when it's fresh and customers have one-on-one interaction with counter staff. Those types of positive experiences can fuel demand for seafood overall. In future buyer focuses, we'll look at other categories, including casual dining and mainstream supermarkets.

Specialty stores typically are small and can react quickly to customer needs. A small retailer is a prime venue for educating consumers on seafood, whether they're asking about environmental issues or how different species should be prepared. Specialty retailers typically emphasize excellent service and quality perishables like seafood in order to compete with big-box stores like Wal-Mart. The specialty retailer's customer generally has more disposable income to spend on luxury items like lobster, king crab and smoked salmon. These customers are well educated and know the benefits of eating seafood.

Casey's Market and McGinnis Sisters Special Food Stores are just two specialty stores that do a great job of selling seafood. I welcome your suggestions on other independent retailers that are doing an equally impressive job merchandising seafood.

On another note, as we went to press with this issue we said goodbye to Senior Editor Lisa Duchene. After five years with SFB, Lisa decided to pursue a freelance writing career from her new home in Pennsylvania. Her reporting and writing skills were a tremendous asset to the magazine, and she attained a great knowledge of the inner workings of the seafood industry. SeaFood Business will continue to tap Lisa's skills on a freelance basis, so look for her byline in upcoming issues.

July 2005 - SeaFood Business

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