Fish

Courtesy of Beck & Bulow

Christian Probst (back left) is watching Phouvieng Keodouangdy (front, left), Tom Palasack (front, right), Nena Caluza (back, middle), Ren Santiago (back, right) process fish at Kodiak Fresh Seafood. Probst works at Beck & Bulow, a New Mexico-based meat delivery company that is looking to buy Kodiak Fresh Seafood. 

The New Mexican meat delivery service Beck & Bulow is negotiating to buy the custom seafood processor Kodiak Fresh Seafood, according to John-Paul Bulow, one of the co-founders and owners of Beck & Bulow.

Kodiak Fresh Seafood serves local restaurants, including Kodiak Hana Restaurant and Henry’s Great Alaskan Restaurant. Once the sale is complete, Beck & Bulow will continue to supply these local companies, and it will also sell Kodiak Fresh Seafood products to more than 250 other restaurants and stores that Beck & Bulow currently works with, Bulow said.

Additionally, Kodiak Fresh Seafood will start selling wild game such as bison, elk and wild boar from Beck & Bulow’s ranch in New Mexico, Bulow said.

Bulow wants to expand on Kodiak Fresh Seafood’s processing plant and create more jobs to handle the extra business. Kodiak Fresh Seafood’s workforce fluctuates day to day, but usually does not exceed eight people, according to Tim Abena, who helped his son, Jeremy, establish the business and is supporting Jeremy during the negotiations with Beck & Bulow. The Kodiak company has the ability to process 5,000 pounds of seafood a day, according to Bulow.

This pales in comparison to the productivity of some of the major seafood processors on the island, which at peak times employ more than 100 people and can process almost a million pounds of fish a day, Bulow said. But that’s part of the appeal of Kodiak Fresh Seafood, according to Abena.

“[Small processors] are needed and necessary,” Abena said. “They are an alternative food source that gives… the consumer another option.”

They also give smaller commercial fishermen options for selling their catch, according to Abena, who worked as a commercial fisherman for decades. This is something that Bulow takes pride in and wants to continue if his company acquires Kodiak Fresh Seafood.

KFS is one of the last locally-owned seafood processors on Kodiak. 

“In an ideal world, [processors] would be locally owned, but we don’t live in a perfect world,” Abena said. “The main thing is not whether it’s locally owned... it’s whether or not the people who run it are competent, are ambitious and are providing a good service.”

Abena believes that Bulow and Toby Beck fit the bill.

“If you’re going to sell out, you’d like to have the people you think are going to do the best job involved. Right now, we have [them],” Abena said. “All the way around, I think it will be a good sale and a good fit [to continue] what Jeremy was doing.”

Even though the deal is not done, Bulow has already bought an office near Kodiak Harbor and plans to work here full-time.

“We took a big risk to make this work; we’re all in,” Bulow said. “We’re doing whatever it takes even though we’re on the other side of the world.”

Even though Kodiak is far from Santa Fe, it’s not completely foreign to Bulow. He has a sister who has lived in Kodiak for years and married a fisherman, and he has a “whole family of people in the fishing industry” and he is excited to join them, he said.

 

(1) comment

Shane

Don't sell out. Keep Kodiak strong! Once you sell they will replace the Kodiak labor force with their own cheap Mexican labor force. The company owner will walk away rich as his employees are replaced. Sad!

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