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B&D Trawling expands into retail seafood

Published:Friday | September 19, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Tameka Gordon, Business Reporter

Local seafood producer B&D Trawling Limited is expanding into retail and the restaurant sector.

The first outlet will open on the Kingston waterfront next month, under a $30-million investment.

While it is "mainly a retail seafood outlet", B&D's Seafood will also offer dining for the lunch crowd, tapping the many corporate offices in the downtown area, said Chief Executive Officer Roderick Francis.

"Because of the lack of restaurants downtown, I think this will be a good offering for many people who work in the downtown area, like the bank (staff), lawyers, and the business offices; that's what we will cater to," Francis said.

"It's a small retail outlet, (but) it will be large enough for you to eat outside and inside. We are looking at seating about 50 persons."

The outlet, which will operate from leased space, will feature an outside terrace as well as a seating section inside.

At its opening, B&D's Seafood will enter a market segment etched out by Rainforest Seafoods' Fishpot restaurants which opened in 2012.

Of the investment to set up the location, B&D Trawling has "budgeted for about $30 million," the CEO said.

The company will offer produce from its catch as well as that of Sea Best, a United States-based seafood company with which B&D has had a partnership for over 30 years, Francis said.

Pre-seasoned seafood

Patrons will also have the option of having their purchases pre-seasoned by the staff, adding to the ease of preparation at home, he said.

"We have been having many requests from persons who know about us (regarding) them actually wanting to purchase seafood from us. But because we are really mainly a wholesaler and export company, we were not really set up in that way where we can really service the public," Francis said of the decision to enter the retail market.

On whether there are plans to eventually expand to other locations, Francis has opted to "see how this one goes first".

"I'm not exactly sure of the revenue part at this moment, because this is essentially just a little spin-off from my business. My main business is the export of seafood, and I'm just doing this because of the requests that people had to experience the seafood we send overseas," he said.

B&D Trawling has been a family-run business since its inception in 1980. The company specialises in the production, processing and export of seafood such as lobster, conch and sea cucumber, with markets in the US, United Kingdom, France, China and Vietnam, among others.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com