Aaron Gillingham purchased East Coast Lobster in July 2021. The original owners, Randy and Linda Gaudette founded the business back in 1988. Randy’s sister worked for Aaron at his locally beloved restaurant The Sal, so Randy and Aaron were acquainted with each other.
“The business had grown to the point where I had the opportunity to look at other businesses. The Sal is a well oiled machine, with a bunch of staff who are taking good care of the business. So it allowed me to look around and see what kind of other businesses would be a good fit.”
Randy spoke with Aaron about potentially taking over the seafood business as Randy and Linda were looking to retire.
“I do have a background in seafood,” Aaron explains, “both of my parents are from the East Coast, my dad’s a Newfie and my mom’s from New Brunswick. So I grew up around seafood and I worked for a seafood chain for nearly ten years prior to buying The Sal.”
Aaron credits the previous owners with helping the ownership transition to be smooth. Their customer base and remained consistent and enthusiastic about their products, especially over the holidays. “Christmas is a crazy time of year, we’re gearing up for a wild season again. The week before Christmas and the week before New Years are the two busiest weeks of the year.”
Customers love East Coast Lobster and Seafood especially for their access to whole lobster, lobster tails, crab legs and scallops. Items that typically aren’t found at the local grocer. “We very much fit into a specialty niche market, where we bring in those hard to find items that you would otherwise only find on the East Coast. So we’re shipping in pallets of crab’s legs, pallets of lobster tails, we FedEx in live lobsters from Nova Scotia.”
They have purchased a refrigerated delivery van and will be making trips to smaller communities throughout the Northwest.
“Every few months we’ve been reaching the small towns of Northern Ontario, so we are now servicing Fort Frances, Dryden, Sioux Lookout, Marathon, Geraldton and Terrace Bay. All these towns, that otherwise have no chance of getting the seafood now have the opportunity to be customers of ours as well.”
Information about where they will be popping up by van is available through their website and social media or directly by phone.
“We announce we’re coming and then I have a preset location that we set up in each town, like a pop-up for a day. For the weeks heading up to that we take pre-orders, people can order by messaging online, email, phone - we try to take orders from all angles. Then we show up with any pre-orders. We have and we also do a pop-up where we bring our best sellers and sell to the general public who happen to be passing by.”
East Coast Lobster and Seafood makes seafood accessible and easy. Packages that take the intimidation out of preparing seafood have been popular.
“We’ve put together really cool oyster packages, we have a fresh oyster package, a sushi package, classic fish and chips package, and then our seafood boil is by long and far our best seller. We like to announce special packages every four or five weeks, which has been a nice way for the customer that isn’t so familiar with seafood or some items they might be hesitant to try," he says. "We include step by step instructions of how to do it and the best way to cook it. It makes cooking seafood less intimidating.”
Aaron is working on renovating a building and hopes to move East Coast Lobster and Seafood to a new and larger location in 2023. Stayed tuned to their website and social media for updates.
They can be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
for directly by phone: (807) 577-6111
East Coast Lobster and Seafood storefront is currently located at 595 Arthur St West.