Atkins Seafood owner Tres Atkins has officially entered the lobster business and distributed about 10,000 pounds the week of Valentine’s Day alone.

Atkins and a buddy of his, Raoul Lavoie, who has been in the lobster business for over 30 years, partnered to create Lobsters LLC. The company recently contracted with Buckhead Meat & Seafood of Houston, a subsidiary of Sysco.

Buckhead Meat & Seafood of Houston president Robert Turbow said the company supplies approximately 200 restaurants in Texas with lobsters.

Lobsters LLC was officially established in October 2018.

Turbow explained the lobsters transported by Lobsters LLC are in excellent condition due to the method of shipping that has proved to be more reliable. Lavoie boasted about the quality of the lobsters because only employees of the company handle the lobsters.

“There’s no one else besides my company handling the lobsters, that’s why I think we do a good job,” Lavoie said.

Turbow agreed the quality is exceptional and further explained the reason why. “It’s a handling process that’s easier on the lobsters versus air freight in tight shipping containers. It’s a more comfortable way to travel,” Turbow said.

Lavoie, who also owns Canobie Seafood, a premier live lobster import and wholesaler, in Salem, New Hampshire, explained he is a direct source for lobsters.

“It enables us to be very competitive in the Texas market,” Lavoie said.

“I have two locations up in Maine, so we buy directly from the boats up in our facilities in Maine," Lavoie said. "The lobsters go from our facilities in Maine to my facility where I work in Salem, New Hampshire, which is about 250 miles away.”

Atkins employees then drive the North Atlantic lobsters to Waxahachie, which serves as a redistribution center for Buckhead Meat & Seafood of Houston.

“They can leave Boston, and in 31 hours they are sitting in my shop. No one else in this industry can do that,” Atkins emphasized.

The lobster tank located on Madison Street in Waxahachie is about 40-by-8-foot and can hold up to 8,000 pounds of lobster at a time. Atkins then showed a picture of his wife holding a 15-pound lobster at the tank. Lavoie said the lobsters average at about 1.5 to four pounds.

“We are very proud to be able to offer fresh Maine lobsters to our customers in Texas, and the lobster is outstanding,” Turbow expressed.

MORE THAN JUST LOBSTERS

For the past few years, Atkins has sat in on meetings of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, which is comprised of Gulf states Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida and Mississippi. Each state has two representatives and one science professional present at the meetings, which are held quarterly.

Seat terms are three years and Doug Boyd, a representative for Texas, will finish his time for his third term.

Atkins has applied for the position three times and made it as a top-three candidate each opportunity. He applied for the fourth time on Monday and is eager to hear back in a couple of months on this application.

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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450