Blaine and Birch Bay Business Roundup

By Steve Guntli

Drayton Harbor Oyster Company

The Drayton Harbor Oyster Company is preparing to open a storefront on Peace Portal Drive.

Co-owner Mark Seymour will be running the new retail shop and oyster bar at 677 Peace Portal Drive with his father, Steve Seymour. The two are passionate about oysters, having farmed them in the community since 2001 and are big proponents of the “farm-to-table” philosophy.

“This will be a place where people can come and buy oysters that were harvested just a few hours earlier,” Mark said.

The new store will also give visitors a chance to learn about the seafood industry in Blaine.Oysters_SG-1

“People are finally going to be able to put a face to the name,” Mark said. “A lot of people around town don’t even know who we are or that we harvest oysters right here in town. We want to help pump up the local seafood industry.”

The Seymours are planning to offer a discount to local patrons to help give them a sense of ownership and give back to the community.

“So much of our success is based on water quality,” Mark said. “We all pay those extra fees each month for the new water treatment system, so we’re all contributing to the water quality. We’re still working out the exact numbers, but we’re going to give locals a discount on their oysters to say thanks.”

Mark hopes to open the store within the next two weeks, no later than Valentine’s Day. The store does not have any kitchen space, but visitors can sample raw oysters in the store or buy them to take home.

Sound Pacific Seafoods

The owners of Sound Pacific Seafoods, 285 Marine Drive, have been building their business on live wholesale crab, but general manager Alex Burrill said the company has even bigger plans for the future. Burrill and his partners hope to establish a seafood retail store.

“We’re getting the proper licensing in order,” he said. “Right now we’re only licensed for wholesale and live storage.”

When open, the retail store will offer salmon, halibut and cooked and live crab. Burrill said he hopes to have the retail store open by this spring. For now, though, the company is keeping busy selling live crabs out of its warehouse. Crabs_SG-2

Owners Jason Burke, Brian Pernula and Burrill’s brother Paul bought the warehouse in May 2014, and the have spent most of the last year retrofitting it into a live storage facility. Burrill says about 90 percent of their crab comes from Westport, but the company also sells local crab. Sound Pacific will soon be getting a shipment of king crab from Alaska, as well.

Semiahmoo Resort

Semiahmoo Resort has made two new hires in the last few weeks.

Megan Wallstrom is stepping in as the new catering service director for the resort. Wallstrom spent 10 years with Sodexo, a facility management company in Seattle, managing the company’s French food services division. From there, she moved on to Compass Group, where she was director of catering for Boeing in Everett. During this time, she was responsible for managing a $6 million per year account, planning everything from small dinners to company barbeques for more than 35,000 people.

Danny Lidder was recently hired as the new Canadian sales manager for the resort. Lidder will be the first point of contact for people in B.C. looking to book meetings, weddings or conventions at the resort.

Lidder, who has more than 15 years of experience in the service industry, was the front office manager of the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown Hotel for three and a half years. He assisted with the renovations of that hotel in preparation for the 2010 Olympic games, before moving on to Fairmont Hotels, where he was executive meeting manager.

Other news:

Vonna’s Purple Fin, 4823 Alderson Road in Birch Bay, has hired a new chef. Justin Meyer comes to Birch Bay from California, where he had almost 10 years chef’s experience. Purple Fin owner Vonna Rushing said she and Meyer don’t plan on changing the menu much at first, but may consider adding items this spring.

Swank Family Hair Design, 399 H Street in Blaine, is now offering straight-razor shaves.

Blaine Insurance has moved from its offices on Peace Portal Drive. The new office is at 288 Martin Street, Suite 201.

  1. Great articles on new seafood businesses!

    Reply
  2. Oyster harvesting in and around Drayton harbor is unsafe to consume according to Washington State Fish and Game notices posted from the Canadian border, down and past Cherry Point. How can these “local” oysters be safe to eat?

    Reply
    • That’s for recreational harvesting, RGbonk. Commercial operations are closely monitored and product tested by regulatory agencies to ensure public health safety.

      Reply
    • Josh hit it on the head. We’re farming on approved grounds backed by years of studies and ongoing monitoring efforts. Drayton Harbor is still highly influenced by runoff following rain events and we structure our sales accordingly. Fecal coliform concerns can be nullified by cooking the product rather than eating it raw and I would encourage anyone purchasing oysters from the shop to ask us farmers what the bay is looking like on a given day — you might even get some raw data to back it up.

      The water quality monitoring over the years has led to some fabulous news that will make headlines in March or April and excite those that want to throw on muck boots and dig some clams locally.

      Reply

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