All Shores Seafood
In 1972, Dan Strazzullo and his sister, Sue, opened a small fish market in coastal San Bruno, Calif. The siblings are the third generation in a family tradition of seafood sales in California, which kicked off when their grandfather immigrated to the United States.
“Our grandfather came to San Francisco from Sicily in 1870,” Dan explains. “He worked fishing, as he had his entire life. Our father opened the family’s first fish market in 1946 and I worked with him there until 1965.”
In 1975 Dan and Sue opened Peninsula Seafood, a shop of their own. For more than 40 years, the business has grown and changed, constantly adjusting to the market.
“It started off with just Sue and I and grew to a staff of 11 people,” Dan recounts. “When the supermarkets started opening full-line fish counters, it really killed the smaller, local mom-and-pop operations. That was more than 25 years ago. We shifted our direction as a business as a distributor called All Shores Seafood [All Shores] with Karen Lewis and Lynn Varesco. Now, most of our business is selling to wholesalers and doing Crab Feeds for most of the Bay Area with the help of Larry Agius. Although, we still run a small retail operation in San Bruno, Calif.”
Living up to a name
All Shores sources seafood from fishermen and fish farmers across the globe. Dan brings in product from the East Coast, Canada, New Zealand, Greece and Scotland, among other locations. Dan attends the Boston Seafood Expo every spring, making new connections for new products at each event.
“There are people there from all over the world displaying products,” he explains. “That is a great networking opportunity for us. We also get contacted a lot to sell people’s products. We have been around a while; we have good finances and a good reputation.”
As a distributor, All Shores has established a target market with wholesalers around Northern California and Nevada. “We sell our seafood to them and they sell to retailers and restaurants,” Dan says. “What sets us apart from other distributors is that we carry a large inventory.” With both locations offering cold storage and tanks for products, the business is prepared to fill the requests of customers, even on short notice.
“We now have more than 30 people working for the company, including fourth generation Vincent Strazzullo, who is now helping with the currently growing business,” he continues.
Products include a broad line of seafood from all over the world. Through the retail and wholesale ends of the business, customers can find high quality foods. The fish selection includes snapper, petrale, catfish and salmon to name a few. The shellfish selection includes clams, mussels and oysters. For a good old fashioned bake or boil, customers will find live Maine lobster, live Dungeness crab and a selection of shrimp and prawn from near and far.
Riding the changing tide
The business has changed shape consistently over the years and Dan is looking ahead to more of the same. “People say you can’t reinvent the wheel, but it is interesting how things change,” he explains. “We have seen shifts in the market. People are interested in sustainability and green technology and we are working to supply that demand.”
Dan goes on to note that the industry trends also depend on the fisheries. “When we first started in distribution, we were bringing in container loads of Chilean sea bass,” he details. “That was a big seller until it started to run out. The same happened with orange roughy. The market pounded it and made it so it was harder to catch. Roughy got more expensive and fell out of favor. Right now one of the major trends is Mediterranean farmed fish, which is already very popular on the East Coast and has spread west. In this industry, we are always finding new species. With our capabilities now in transportation, handling and refrigeration, we can pull in product from around the world and have it arrive in pristine condition.”
All Shores’ access to diverse seafood products has been a driving factor behind the business’ success. While the market for fish is thriving in the company’s geographic footprint, there are still challenges to business unique to All Shores and its competitors. In the seafood industry, regulation comes in at all angles.
“I tell people, only half joking, that I have more licenses and certificates of operation than most doctors,” Dan laughs. “We have to be covered with government regulations on a local, state and federal level. Our business is regulated by the FDS, the state, the county, OSHA and NOAA with a lot of requirement to meet.”
Being in the business his entire life, Dan takes all this work in stride. He understands that as part of the industry, these are just the rules of the game. Therefore, All Shores plays fair and square, in compliance wherever required. This level of compliance allows customers to rest assured that the company’s products are safe, fresh and sustainable. In the coming years, Dan and his team strive to meet regulations and exceed expectations while keeping All Shores Seafood on the cutting edge of the seafood business.