Contact: John Jordan, 207-318-1188, or Rob Snyder, 207-691-2393
Casco Bay Lobstermen Band Together to Launch Innovative Business Model
Portland, Maine—In stark contract to the strife and tension that seem to have afflicted some lobstering communities recently, a group of lobstermen from Chebeague Island and other Casco Bay communities stood together on a wharf in Portland’s Old Port today to announce the launch of Calendar Islands Lobster Company – a fishermen-owned, vertically integrated lobster business.
Named after one early-18th century explorer’s claim that “there are as many islands [in Casco Bay] as there are days in the year”*, the Calendar Islands Lobster brand will tell the story of the 29 fishermen who personally select each lobster and handle it with extreme care before its delivery to select retailers in the region. The business model behind the new brand, with its tagline of “from the source for your Maine course”, will combine a robust marketing/branding initiative with the creation of a strong producer/consumer connection.
John Jordan and the other members of Dropping Springs LLC hope that consumers will care about the lobstermen’s decision to work collaboratively, their active involvement in state and local industry councils, and their commitment to sustainable harvesting methods. “So far, the response on the island [Chebeague] has been amazing,” says Jordan. “We’ve received so many calls from people asking how they can help us get this off the ground; it’s really gratifying.”
Robert Snyder, the Institute’s vice-president of programs, isn’t surprised that this concept is catching on. “We know from our work with the fishermen in Port Clyde that consumers want to connect with the people who harvest their food. The success of the Port Clyde Fresh Catch brand of seafood taught us that “who”, “how” and “where” matter just as much as what it tastes like. The fact that these guys are willing to invest serious time and money in this innovative business model is a huge plus and really underscores their commitment to working together.”
During the next year, Island Institute staff will help the lobstermen develop and implement a business plan designed to attract short- and long-term investors; underwrite the expense of a full-time manager to oversee daily operations; develop a catch-to-plate, lobster-claw banding and tracking scheme that will enable consumers to link back to the fisherman who caught their lobster; and provide website-development, public-relations and graphic-design assistance. This will free up Jordan and the other fishermen to focus on sales, marketing and long-range strategic planning efforts. For more information, please visit www.calendarislandslobster.com or contact John Jordan at 207-318-1188 or Rob Snyder at 207-691-2393.
Supported by the Island Institute, which partners with Maine’s year-round islands
and coastal communities to ensure that they remain vibrant places to live and work.