Brad Robbins was getting homesick for Juneau.
After spending two and half years in Palmer, he finally got his chance to come back and do something he cares about.
Robbins, who lived in Juneau for seven years before moving to Palmer in 2015, said he returned to take over at Hooked Seafood Company.
Robbins officially reopened Hooked Seafood on May 1. Robbins said the original owner of Hooked Seafood, Horst Schramm who owned the business for 26 years, has been a major influence. Schramm, Robbins said, is a great resource and a helpful hand anytime he needs advice.
“One of the super-important things to me is that Horst, who established this place, comes in every day with his recipes and techniques,” Robbins said. “We could not be happier. He fought the good fight for many years and he is always on call if I need him. He wants to see this place grow as much as I do.”
Recipes for smoked fish, Robbins said, are what Schramm was best known for when he owned Hooked Seafood.
“Brad is a really good guy,” Schramm said. “I had a good business going and hopefully I can been help him get it back to that.”
Robbins said he was asked by local entrepreneur Tracy LaBarge if he wanted to buy the business in the fall of 2017 and he jumped at the chance. LaBarge owned Hooked Seafood for two years after Schramm decided to move on. LaBarge, who owns or co-owns multiple Juneau businesses including Tracy’s Crab Shack, SALT Alaska, McGivney’s Sports Bar and Grill and a cannabis company THC Alaska, was the first person Robbins met when he moved to Juneau in 2008. He worked at Tracy’s Crab Shack for two years when he first lived in Juneau.
“Tracy is a dear friend of mine and she wanted to move the store to someone who had some more enthusiasm for the job,” Robbins said. “Finally, I said ‘OK’ when she asked me about (Hooked Seafood). I wanted to come back here because I love it so much, even the weather.”
Robbins, who said he has retail experience, is still learning the day-to-day operations of what makes a business run.
“One of the challenges is keeping ahead of everything,” Robbins said. “It is all those things you don’t think about and that customers normally do not see that you have to maintain to stay organized and have a successful business.”
Robbins explained that he had to take a “crash-course” on QuickBooks, an accounting software program used to manage sales and expenses and keep track of daily business transactions, and needed to learn how to program the weigh machine as just a few examples of the behind-the-scenes operations.
Robbins said LaBarge helped him get acquainted with local fishermen and some customers. He said the response from both has been good so far.
“People seem happy with the product,” Robbins said.
The seafood market primarily deals with walk-in customers and custom processing. Robbins said custom processing can involve smoking fish and vacuum-sealing fish. He hopes to eventually start processing game in the fall. It also offers nationwide shipping of fresh seafood.
He hopes the love he has for Juneau and the business reflects into quality products and customer service.
“Our intention is to be the friendliest and most knowledgeable fish counter in Juneau,” Robbins said. “We want to be the friendly neighborhood fish shop.”
Hooked Seafood will be holding its official Grand Opening celebration from 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday. Robbins said they will be grilling fish as part of the festivities.
Hooked Seafood is located at 8534, 2315 Industrial Blvd. It is open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.
• Contact reporter Gregory Philson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 523-2265. Follow him on Twitter at @GTPhilson.