CEO reflects on Stavis Seafoods’ expansion, new company president

Published on
April 4, 2017

Expansion has been an ongoing theme for Boston-based seafood importer Stavis Seafoods over the past few years.

The company has long been laying the groundwork for its headquarters and processing facility to be based out of the Port of Boston by 2018. It also recently opened the doors of Stavis Peabody, a 40,000 square foot warehousing space predominantly servicing the company’s frozen seafood product line. Moreover, the company’s Miami, Florida-based facility, Stavis Miami, was also recently outfitted with a series of processing upgrades. 

Stavis has also made key addtions to its sales and leadership teams. Brandii Holmdahl –a 20-year seafood industry veteran with former ties to Icicle Seafoods and its subsidiary Seward Fish – was hired as Stavis’ new director of quality as of 15 March, and Stavis Miami fleshed out its sales staff with the intent to broaden the company's presence in the U.S. Southeast. And in March 2017, Stavis welcomed a new president when Charles “Chuck” Marble, former CEO of Elevation Brands (which includes Ian’s Natural Foods and Blue Horizon Wild), took over for interim president Jack Fleishman on 16 March. 

These changes are part of the business’ overarching expansion strategy, set into motion more than a year ago, according to Stavis Seafoods CEO Richard Stavis. 

“When we first started talking about the evolution of Stavis about a year-and-a-half ago to now, I think what you find is an amazing consistency of our story, of our path. Everything that we’ve been doing is everything that we said we were going to be doing along the way,” Stavis told SeafoodSource.   

While expansion in terms of warehousing can be expected to ease up in anticipation of Stavis’ new USD 40 million (EUR 37.7 million) Boston headquarters, which is expected to break ground this spring and officially open sometime in 2018, the company’s commitment and investment in growth will hold strong, said its CEO. 

“The Stavis family is committed to growing the company and has made, and will continue to make, significant investments in order to do so,” Stavis said. 

A key investment for the business continues to be, and has been, in its people, Stavis said. Marble’s appointment as Stavis Seafoods’ new acting president is expected to bring the company closer to several new business and product channels. As president, Marble – who has more than 30 years of experience in the food industry, working for companies such as Elevation Brands, Weetabix Food Company and Triad Foods Group – will “help build the Stavis brands to meet the evolving needs of customers, develop product and channel opportunities, and integrate the recently opened Peabody facility into the operations of the [enterprise],” according to the company. 

“Chuck is the positive, high energy leader we need to help guide us through these exciting changes,” Stavis said of Marble. “He will help us grow our service level capabilities, improve our processes, take advantage of new opportunities and lead our management team. He is a team player and his expertise in retail, as well as sales, operations and product development, will be invaluable as we build the business for the future.”  

“Initially, Chuck will be focused on processes and performance,” added Stavis. “He has skill sets, especially in branded and retail product innovation, which are extremely exciting and will greatly benefit the business. I have absolute confidence in his abilities and expertise and I am very pleased he is part of the Stavis team.”

The addition of numerous new team members including Marble and Holmdahl has allowed the company to better serve one of its primary aims, said Stavis.

“There’s a lot that’s going on right now, but ultimately it all boils down to wanting to serve our customers better and to wanting to have the best quality products and the best variety that meets the needs of our respective customer base. Our team is really gelling, and that’s allowing us to bring more ideas together and through the implementation phase,” Stavis said.  

One idea that has germinated for the company and is now heading into the implementation phase is a new shipping initiative. Stavis Seafoods is looking to replace over two-thirds of its styrofoam shipping packaging with a new 100 percent-recyclable, polyethylene-based alternative, Stavis said. The polyethylene packs are anticipated to be more environmentally friendly and to cut down on transport and fuel expenses. 

“We have the environmental improvement of not putting more styrofoam out into the world, but also, by putting more product on a palette and more palettes on a truck, we have that ability to reduce transport costs,” said Stavis. “It’s common sense.”

Ultimately, Stavis Seafoods isn’t focused on growth just for growth’s sake, said Stavis. 

“Yes, we’ve been expanding. But we haven’t been expanding to be bigger, we’ve been expanding to be better,” he concluded. 

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