NW Fresh Seafood owner Blane Hansen incorporates retail sales at Main Street facility
If the shop smells like fish, someones in trouble. Despite owning NW Fresh Seafood, Blane Hansen cant stand the smell of fish. His low tolerance for the smell correlates with his high standards for the product. Hansen hopes to have the freshest, best fish people can find. In fact, thats how he started the company four years ago.
(I wanted) to find fresh fish, I couldnt find any, he said. If were known partially for fishing, why does this not exist? At first I just wanted this as a hobby, but I thought if Im going to go to that trouble, I might as well make it worth my while, so I went to high-end restaurants and asked if I had this product, would they work with me?
The idea was well rceived, so he opened NW Fresh Seafood as a wholesale business, importing fish from the coast and supplying local restaurants.
The idea set up back then was to get fish in as close to when its caught or harvested, Hansen said. The idea was only to sell to high-end restaurants and obviously for myself and my friends.
But he learned to sell to his friends he needed to have a retail license as well. So three years ago, he went through that process too.
I didnt encourage retail but wanted to be able to (sell fish) to people who came in, he said.
Now the business is at a turning point.
I thought Id give it three years or so get to know how it all works and see (how to proceed) when it comes at that time, Hansen said. After this year looking at the growth weve had, in not advertising really, there must be people out here that want (fresh fish).
With that observation, he said hes decided to move forward and expend the retail side of NW Fresh Seafood.
This will be nothing like I hope people have seen because itll be that fresh and that high of quality, he said. But if I continue down this road I want to get a whole lot better at it. I still think it can be brought in sooner and it can be fresher.
Theres another aspect to putting more focus on retail services the location.
Its probably the worst retail location there could be, he said.
The store is situated behind Hillside Fellowship Church at 611 N. Main St. With a small sign in the grass out front, customers drive past the church to a building in the back. Theres limited parking and even less signage signaling to customers that theyre in the right place.
I just want people when they drive in to make it more user-friendly, easier access if possible, and make it look like where theyre supposed to be, Hansen said. The second thing is I want people to walk in and know instantly heres what we have, some questions are answered. They know what to do and can see we have what they need to cook the fish.
He hopes to have the remodeling done by March 1, the date of a store event introducing the shop to the community.
Thats the goal, he said. I need to move forward no matter what. Since Im in construction I should be able to get it done in time.
In the meantime, hes going to keep honing his process and work to supply Newberg and the area the freshest fish possible.
For more information about NW Fresh Seafood, visit www.northwestfreshseafood.info.