written by K. Ann Karr
Before I go into a continuation of Charlie’s story in the building of Local Seafood Delivery, I must take a quick detour.
If you have never been to one of Charlie’s farmers markets and seen him in action, I highly recommend. It is a thing of beauty. He is there, with all his organized coolers, his pre-order notebook, and his various fish decorations scattered on the bright tablecloth. Then there is Charlie. A warm smile, knowing his customers by name (and there are a lot of them). He knows their dogs’ names, he greets them with a handshake or a hug. As he is making small talk, he verifies with them off the top of his head the order they placed earlier in the week. While he is wrapping their order and continuing to chat, the sale takes place. Oh, and I forgot to say there are toddlers screaming in the background while their parents are in the fish line. He has new customers walking up, interrupting him about prices while they obviously see Charlie’s working with someone else. He normally answers them calmly and explains he will be right with them, giving them enough info to keep the customer busy while he finishes his current sale.
He never raises his voice, but stays stern with rude customers and tries to educate them on policies and reasons behind pricing, but he also tries to work out a deal that will benefit both of them, even if it is in the customer’s favor. He knows…that customer will be back. The quality always wins out. I’ve even heard previously rude customers from the week before come back and apologize and then go about telling him it was the best seafood they ever tasted. Charlie just smiles and says “it’s all good”…our Charlie is a diplomat.
A thing of beauty in unusual places.
Back to Charlie’s story….Charlie and his former track team buddy from Roanoke College decided to work together; Charlie at the time was low on funds and Michael was low on clients so this worked out great. Michael went about building an incredible website that was very user friendly. It listed the catch of the week and had a way for Charlie to alter the price weekly as it changed at the docks, without too much trouble. This gave the customers the chance to see what was available the week before and place their orders online. Charlie was able to adjust his buy budget, becoming even more successful than he was previously. There are times he has sold out of all the seafood by the second market on Friday so that when he gets to the third one on Saturday he just has pre-orders. So, this website was the key Charlie needed to really help make Local Seafood Delivery the success it has become today. His friend Michael was able to use the website in his portfolio to help build his own business.
Of course, the quality of the seafood, the professional manner in which the business is run, the availability of local seafood keep the customers coming back. But, let me let you in on a secret…what really keeps them coming back is Charlie. His honesty and genuine affection for his customers. He very rarely gets negative comments on Facebook or other social media…most reviews are glowing. There was one comment I read from a fellow that was very negative. Without going into too much detail, this gentleman was very angry when he got to the market as his pre-order was not there and he had company coming. Also, the part of his order that was there was incorrect. Needless to say, he was upset. Now, Charlie could have deleted that comment but instead, he printed it and apologized to the man. He promised he would make it up to him and he also thanked the customer because he said that for his business to grow he had to know were he failed so it wouldn’t happen again. He did make it up to the man and, as I understand, it all worked out.
We have included some recipes with this blog and Charlie has some samples of crab dip and shrimp dip on ice at the market this morning. He also has flyers providing information for this blog and associated social media. Please pick some up when you go visit him. If he is out of recipes just let us know, we can provide you with a copy! Follow us on our blog…we have an e-book coming out in a few weeks and, shortly after that, we will publish a cookbook using Charlie’s seafood. Our cookbook will feature videos and some great photos. Hope there is still some samples when you get there and, always remember, the true reason people go back week after week is because of Charlie. In this day and age it is wonderful to see nice guys finish first.
Next week we will have more recipes and videos, and some of the funny things that have happened over the last several years, the juicy “printable” stuff!!!
Party Shrimp Dip
Prep time: 10 minutes
Yield: Makes about 2 cups of dip
If using frozen shrimp, defrost safely by placing in a bowl of ice water. When defrosted, strain.
-8 ounces cream cheese, room temp.
-¼ cup mayonnaise
-2 to 4 Tbsp of lemon juice (2 if regular lemon, 4 if Meyer lemon)
-1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
-¾ pound cooked, shelled, small pink shrimp (salad shrimp)
-¼ cup sliced scallions, including the greens
-2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
-¼ teaspoon Tabasco or Crystal hot sauce
-Freshly ground black pepper to taste
-3 Tbsp ketchup
-1 Tbsp grated horseradish
-1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
-In a medium bowl beat together the cream cheese and mayonnaise until smooth. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest. Beat until smooth.
-Pulse the shrimp and the cream cheese mixture three 1-second pulses. Or finely chop shrimp and mix with cream cheese.
-Return to bowl and stir in scallions and parsley. Add ketchup, horseradish and black pepper to taste. Add lemon juice to taste.
– Keep chilled. Serve with crackers or crudité.
Karen’s Hot Crab Dip
Yield: Makes about 3 ½ cups of dip
-¾ cup sour cream
-2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
-1 Tbsp grated fresh onion
-1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
-1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
-¼ teaspoon garlic powder
-8 ounces cream cheese, softened
-½ cup sharp cheddar cheese
-1 lb lump crabmeat, shells removed
-16 ounces cream cheese
-Paprika or Old Bay Seasoning
-Mix together sour cream, lemon juice, onion, Worcestershire, garlic powder, and softened cream cheese using a hand blender.
-Fold in cheddar cheese and crabmeat.
-Spoon mixture into casserole dish and sprinkle with paprika or Old Bay Seasoning.
-Bake at 325°F for 30 minutes, or until heated through.
-Sprinkle with chopped fresh dill.
-Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, toast points, or Bugles.
-Can be served cold.