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Editor's Note: A bow to buyers

Fiona Robinson, Associate Publisher / Editor
By Fiona Robinson
August 01, 2013

SeaFood Business is dedicated to providing information to make buyers’ lives easier. For 32 years we’ve published information on price and supply, news, trends and analysis on big topics like tariffs, sustainability and fraud, to name a few. With this issue, we turn the spotlight on our readers with The Buyer’s Turn, an annual cover story on merchandisers who go above and beyond to provide the best quality product to their customers. 

This year Senior Editor James Wright features John Yokoyama, owner of Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market, and John Yates, director of seafood for Buckhead Beef, a subsidiary of foodservice giant Sysco. These buyers have experienced the highs and lows of what the industry has thrown at them and have survived to tell the tale. But they’ve done more than just punch time cards and fillet fish — they’ve gone the extra mile to be the best at what they do. 

Seafood buyers put in long hours that are rarely a 9-to-5 workday. They’re in early, dealing with many product SKUs and purchasing a protein from a category boasting hundreds of commercially available species. Then there’s that whole “wild side” of sourcing a product from supplies that can fluctuate at the whims of Mother Nature and other unknown elements that often requires a “fly by the seat of your pants” mentality. If a species isn’t available from one source they have to find another one fast to keep customers happy. And depending upon the nature of their business, customer requests can sometimes pop up at 10 p.m. on a weekend. Add in customers’ desire for sustainability certification and it’s enough to make the weak-hearted run screaming for the door.

Yokoyama and Yates both have the necessary temperament that enables them to juggle many things at a time — literally and figuratively. It’s been a life-altering experience for both. Turn to page 20 to be inspired by these two men who take purchasing to the next level.

 

  August 2013 - SeaFood Business

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