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Seafood Distributor Northern Wind Marks Its 30th Anniversary

Michael Fernandes, George Kouri and Ken Melanson, Northern Wind.
Michael Fernandes, George Kouri and Ken Melanson, Northern Wind.

Last updated on June 13th, 2024 at 04:42 pm

Northern Wind of New Bedford, Massachusetts, a direct off-loader, processor and distributor of fresh and frozen scallops, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Located on the New Bedford waterfront, Northern Wind processes more than 15 million pounds of scallops per year.

At March’s Boston Seafood Expo, Northern Wind introduced a new trade show booth and also showcased a complete rebranding of its Captain’s Call, Mariner’s Choice and Sea Spray scallop product lines, which company leaders say better positions Northern Wind for future growth.

Founded in 1987 by Ken Melanson and Michael Fernandes, Northern Wind has experienced consistent growth as a seafood processing and distribution company providing its customers with a variety of scallops and seafood.

In 2013, George Kouri joined the company as CEO, bringing extensive expertise in product distribution. He is focusing on expanding Northern Wind’s product lines across multiple sales channels.

Northern Wind officials say they take pride in providing their customers with the freshest seafood products that have been responsibly harvested using sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.

“Over the last 30 years, Northern Wind has not only remained strong throughout many economic ups and downs, but we’ve grown the business, and we now serve well over 500 customers across the globe,” said Melanson. “First, our expertise at delivering top-quality, responsibly sourced and sustainable scallops and fresh seafood is paramount in our success. Secondly, our employee’s hard work and dedication to providing superior customer service has enabled us to attract and retain hundreds of loyal customers.”

Melanson said the company began with three employees and has grown over 30 years to staff 100 people. Twenty-five percent of the staff has stayed with the company 18 years or more. First-year company sales were $2 million. This year Northern Wind is expected to top $125 million in sales.

Northern Wind’s seafood product inventory includes fresh and frozen scallops, Ahi tuna, North Atlantic lobster, monkfish, headfish, skate and value-added seafood offerings.

Northern Wind’s 70,000-s.f. facility is certified by the U.S. Department of Commerce Seafood Inspection Program for packing of USDC Grade A fresh and frozen scallops. The company was the first in the nation to receive Fair Trade Certification, and during the 2017-18 fishing season it purchased more than one million pounds of Fair Trade scallops.

The company has launched a new line of scallops under the Five Star Premium Scallop brand name. Northern Wind also has redesigned its Captain’s Call, Mariner’s Choice and Sea Spray scallop product lines to better portray Northern Wind’s position in the seafood industry, the company says.

“The first 30 years has been an incredible ride. We’ve been blessed to have employees who are dedicated to quality and providing excellent customer service. I can’t wait to see what the next decade has in store for us,” said Fernandes.

Northern Wind’s scallop brands are positioned for nationwide markets, including include supermarkets, club stores, national restaurant/hotel chains and wholesalers, seeking seafood offerings from sustainable fisheries.

Kouri said the next chapter for Northern Wind is to widen distribution to all channels with new packaging for different size products for each channel.

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About the author

Shelby Team

The Shelby Report delivers complete grocery news and supermarket insights nationwide through the distribution of five monthly regional print and digital editions. Serving the retail food trade since 1967, The Shelby Report is “Region Wise. Nationwide.”

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