A seafood store or seafood shop is a retail outlet that sells different types of seafood. Please note that the term seafood refers to fish and shellfish. Shellfish include various species of mollusks (e.g., bivalve mollusks such as clams, oysters, and mussels and cephalopods such as octopus and squid), crustaceans (e.g., shrimp, crabs, and lobster), and echinoderms (e.g., sea urchins).

Available statistics show that the global seafood market size was valued at $159,311.9 million in 2019, and is projected to reach $193,913.6 million by 2027, registering a CAGR of 2.5% from 2020 to 2027. The fish segment was the highest contributor to the market, with $101,526.2 million in 2019, and is estimated to reach $125,914.3 million by 2027, at a CAGR of 2.7% during the forecast period.

The market size measured by revenue of the Fish & Seafood Markets industry in the United States, is $3.1bn in 2023. In 2019, U.S. commercial fishermen landed 9.3 billion pounds of seafood valued at $5.5 billion.

Steps on How to Start a Seafood Store Business

  1. Conduct Market Research

The first step in the market research process for your seafood store business is to develop market-based research questions in line with your overall business goal and objective. In this regard, you should source information that will help you maximize your business and equally tell you what your potential market wants from a seafood store. This will help you to operate your seafood store with less stress and build the business to profitability within the shortest time frame.

a. Who is the Target Market for Seafood Store Business?
  • Restaurants and canteens
  • Households
  • Hotels
  • BBQ stands
  • Every business that makes use of seafood.
b. Is the Seafood Store Business a Profitable Business?

Yes, the seafood store business is profitable and the industry is growing. For example, the New York City-based Fulton Fish Market sees up to 2 million tons of fresh seafood arrive daily, making it the largest fresh seafood market in the United States and the second-largest in the world.

c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?

There are a few niche areas someone interested in starting a seafood business may decide to concentrate on. Some of these niche ideas are;

  • Seafood farming
  • Seafood shops
  • Seafood restaurant
  • Seafood processing.
d. Who are the Major Competitors?
  • American Seafoods Group LLC
  • Freiremar, SA
  • Kangamiut Seafood A/S
  • Lee Fishing Company
  • Lee Group (Leigh Fisheries)
  • Mowi Asa
  • Pacific Sea Food Company, Inc.
  • Phillips Foods, Inc.
  • Thai Union Group Plc
  • Trident Seafoods Corporation
  • StarKist Seafood Co.
  • ConAgra
  • Tyson Foods
  • High Liner Foods
  • Clearwater Seafoods
  • Marine Harvest USA
  • Pacific Seafood Group
  • Red Chamber
  • Trident Seafood
  • Cooke Aquaculture.
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Seafood store business?

Yes, there are county or state regulations and zoning laws for seafood stores, and players in this industry are expected to work with the existing regulations governing such business in the county or state where their business is domiciled.

In addition to that, it is important to state that in the United States, government agencies and departments routinely grant variances to rules and regulations. Often, you only have to fill out a short form. In other cases, your request may have to be publicly heard before your city council, zoning board, or other body. Please check with your zoning or planning department to find out what options are available to you.

f. Is There a Franchise for the Seafood Store Business?

Yes, there are franchise opportunities for the seafood store business. Here are some of them;

  • Captain D’s
  • The Ginger Sushi + Poke Shop
  • LemonShark Poke
  • Cousins Maine Lobster
  • Pokeworks
  • Slapfish
  • Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls.
  • Sherri’s Crab Cakes
  • The Thirsty Turtle.
g. What Do You Need to Start a Seafood Store Business?
  • A Feasibility Report
  • Business and Marketing Plans
  • Business Licenses and Permits
  • A Good Shop facility
  • EIN (Employer Identification Number)/Federal Tax ID Number.
  • A Corporate Bank Account
  • Wholesale supplies of different types of seafood
  • Employees
  • Startup Capital
  1. Memorable Seafood Store Business Names

  • Sea Sides© Seafood Store, Inc.
  • Ever Fresh® Seafood Store, LLC
  • Organic© Seafood Store, Inc.
  • Lobster Solutions® Seafood Store, Inc.
  • Whippy™ Seafood Store, Inc.
  • Shawn Pyke™ Seafood Shop, LLC.
  • Orlando Fish© Seafood Store, LLC
  • Checkers Crabs® Seafood Store, Inc.
  • Grace Crabs© Seafood Store, Inc.
  • Molly Tangerine© Seafood Store, Inc.
  • Food Concept® Seafood Store, LLC
  • Coast Line® Seafood Store, LLC
  • Most Foods™ Seafood Store, LLC
  • Marine Group© Seafood Store, Inc.
  • Rancho® Seafood Store, Inc.
  • Blue Sea™ Seafood Store, Inc.
  • Cross Country Group™ Seafood Store, Inc.
  • All Round© Seafood Store, Inc.
  • One Stop® Seafood Store, LLC
  • Nile Fish™ Seafood Shop, Inc.
  1. Register Your Business

a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Seafood Store Business?

Even though there are several options when it comes to the business structure of a seafood store business, the one that most players in this line of business consider is an LLC. It is common to consider an LLC because a provider wants to protect themselves from any lawsuits.

Please note that an LLC will need an EIN if it has employees or if it will be required to file any of the excise tax forms listed below.

b. Steps to Form an LLC
  • Choose a Name for Your LLC.
  • File Articles of Organization.
  • Choose a registered agent.
  • Decide on member vs. manager management.
  • Create an LLC operating agreement.
  • Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • File annual reports.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Seafood Store Business?
  • General Business License
  • Health and Safety Permit
  • Food Handler’s Permit
  • Zonal Permits
  • Signage Permit
  • Operational State Facility Inspections
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Open a Seafood Store Business?

You don’t need any certifications to open a seafood store.

e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Seafood Store Business?
  • DBA
  • EIN
  • Business and liability insurance
  • Federal Tax Payer’s ID
  • State Permit and Building Approval
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Terms of Use
  • Online Privacy Policy Document
  • Contract Document
  • Company Bylaws
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?

If you are considering starting your own seafood store business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection or trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.

  1. Cost Analysis and Budgeting

a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Seafood Store Business?

A standard seafood store can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 depending on size, whether or not it will be a constructed cold room or just freezers, require electricity, and how you have it plumbed. Your retail storefront will require another $50,000 investment minimum and your start-up supplies will run you another $10,000 to $50,000.

b. What are the Cost Involved in Starting a Seafood Store Business
  • Business Registration Fees – $750.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits – $1,300.
  • Marketing, Branding and Promotions – $1,000.
  • Business Consultant Fee – $2,500.
  • Insurance – $1,400.
  • Rent/Lease – $25,000.
  • Other start-up expenses include commercial satellite TV subscriptions, stationery ($500), and phone and utility deposits ($1,800).
  • Operational Cost (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $30,000
  • Start-up Inventory – $10,000
  • Store Equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $1,750
  • Furnishing and equipping the shop – $15,000
  • Website: $600
  • Opening party: $3,000
  • Miscellaneous: $2,000
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Seafood Store Business?
  • The size of seafood store business
  • The choice of location
  • The required licenses and permits
  • The type of facility
  • The cost for branding, promotion, and marketing of the seafood store
  • The cost for furnishing and equipping the seafood store
  • The cost of insurance
  • The cost for registering the business
  • Source of your supplies and ongoing expenses
  • Cost of recruiting and training your staff
  • The cost for the purchase and customizing of uniforms
  • The cost for the grand opening of the seafood store
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility? If YES, How Much Will It Cost?

No, it is not compulsory to build a new facility for your seafood store, but if you have the required finance, it will pay you to build your facility. The truth is that building or reconstructing a facility will help you come up with a facility that will perfectly fit into your overall business goals and vision.

e. What are the Ongoing Expenses of a Seafood Store Business?
  • Supplies (inventory expenses)
  • Utility bills (internet subscriptions, phone bills, signage and software renewal fees et al)
  • Maintenance
  • Salaries of employees
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
  • Shop Manager (Owner) – $45,000 Per Year
  • Merchandise Manager – $30,000
  • Cashier (Accountant) – $26,100 Per Year
  • Sales Boys and Sales Girls -$24,000 Per Year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Seafood Store Business?
  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for a loan from your bank/banks
  • Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from the government, donor organizations, and angel investors
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and friends.
  1. Write a Business Plan

a. Executive Summary

Blue Sea™ Seafood Store, Inc. is a neighborhood seafood store that will be located in a fast-growing community in San Antonio, Texas. We have been able to secure a one-year lease of a vacant shop within the city’s largest shopping mall. We are fortunate to secure a facility with an option of renewal for 5 years at a rate that is favorable to us.

b. Products and Service

Seafood such as fish and shellfish. Shellfish include various species of mollusks (e.g., bivalve mollusks such as clams, oysters, and mussels and cephalopods such as octopus and squid), crustaceans (e.g., shrimp, crabs, and lobster), and echinoderms (e.g., sea urchins).

c. Mission Statement

Our mission is to establish a standard seafood store that will sell franchises all across the United States of America and other countries of the world. We want to become a household name when it comes to seafood retailing.

Vision Statement

Our vision is to establish a seafood store that will become the number one choice for both households and businesses in and around our restaurant locations.

d. Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives of a seafood store are to provide a retail outlet where people can purchase a wide variety of seafood.

e. Organizational Structure
  • Shop Manager (Owner)
  • Merchandise Manager
  • Cashier (Accountant)
  • Sales Boys and Sales Girls

Marketing Plan

a. SWOT Analysis
  • Ideal location for a seafood store business
  • Highly experienced and qualified employees and management
  • Access to finance from business partners
  • Access to wholesale supplies of seafood.
  • Financial constraints may restrict the publicity and branding of the business
  • A new business that will be competing with well-established seafood stores in the city.
  • Inability to retain our highly experienced employees longer than we want during the teething stage of the business.
  • A rise in the number of people who wants seafood within our market space (The surging popularity of healthy eating is expected to benefit the industry and attract new customers)
  • Online market, new services, new technology, and of course the opening of new markets.
  • Pandemics such as Covid19 (Revenue for the Seafood Wholesaling industry declined in 2020 amid the adverse economic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic)
  • The arrival of a new seafood shop within our market space
  • Economic uncertainty
  • Liability problems
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could change its regulatory status and decide to enforce strict regulations that can strangulate new businesses like ours.
b. How Do Seafood Stores Make Money?

Seafood stores make money by selling seafood.

c. Payment Options
  • Payment via bank transfer
  • Payment with cash
  • Payment via credit cards
  • Payment via online bank transfer
  • Payment via check
  • Payment via mobile money transfer
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
  • Introduce your seafood store by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to households, restaurants, hotels, and other key stakeholders throughout the city where your seafood store is located.
  • Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums, and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to get your message across
  • Create a basic website for your business to give your business an online presence
  • Directly market your products.
  • Join local seafood store business associations for industry trends and tips
  • Provide discount days for your customers
  • Advertise our business in community-based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
  • List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Encourage the use of word-of-mouth marketing (referrals)

Financial Projection

a. How Much Should You Charge for your Product/Service?

There is no fixed cost for seafood because there are different types and sizes of seafood. On average, a pound of Jumbo King Crab Legs Approximately 1.25 legs/claws per pound is $60.70, lobster is $62 per pound and 6-8 Jumbo Shrimp Raw per pound cost $16.99.

Please note that seafood is expensive due to the rule of supply and demand.

b. How Much Profit Do Seafood Store Business Owners Make a Year?

It depends, but an available report shows that seafood store owners make anywhere between $24,000 a year and $155,000.

c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
  • The capacity of the seafood store business
  • The types of products retailed in the shop
  • The location the seafood store is covering
  • The management style of the seafood store business
  • The business approach of the seafood store business
  • The advertising and marketing strategies adopted by the seafood store
  • The number of years the seafood store is in business
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Seafood Store Business?

The profit margin of a seafood store is not fixed. It could range from 35 percent to 45 percent depending on the type of seafood retailed in the shop.

e. What is the Sales Forecast?

Below is the sales forecast for a seafood store business. It is based on the location of the business and other factors as it relates to such startups in the United States;

  • First Fiscal Year: $280,000
  • Second Fiscal Year: $540,000
  • Third Fiscal Year: $880,000
  1. Set Up your Shop 

a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for Seafood Store Business?
  • The demography of the location especially as it relates to people that eat seafood
  • The demand for seafood in the location
  • The purchasing power of businesses and residents of the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of seafood stores, grocery shops, and farm markets in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community/state
  • Traffic, parking and security et al
b. What State and City are Best to Open a Seafood Store Business?
  • Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
  • Bar Harbor, Maine
  • Paia, Hawaii
  • Cannon Beach, Oregon
  • Sanibel Island, Florida
  • Edgartown, Massachusetts
  • Tybee Island, Georgia
  • Port Townsend, Washington
  • New York City, New York
  • Los Angeles, California
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate a Seafood Store Business?
  • Deep freezer
  • Weighing machine (Scale)
  • Pans
  • Different sets of knives
  • Crates
  1. Hire Employees

When it comes to hiring employees for a standard seafood store business, you should make plans to hire a competent shop manager (owner), merchandise manager, cashier (accountant), sales boys, and girls.

  1. Launch the Business Proper

You can choose to open your seafood store with an opening party but know that it is not mandatory. You can do a soft opening if you are operating on a low budget or you can go for a grand opening party. The bottom line is that with a proper launching of the seafood store business, you will be able to officially inform people in your city that your seafood store is open for business.

a. What Makes a Seafood Store Business Successful?
  • Choose a good location and shop facility to launch the business
  • Make sure your shop is stocked with different types of seafood
  • Be deliberate with your marketing sales approach
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth to promote your seafood store
  • Leverage on all available online and offline platforms to promote your seafood store
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Seafood Store Business?
  • The shop is open for the day’s work
  • Goods are properly arranged in the freezer
  • Walk-in customers are attended to
  • Deliveries of orders are made
  • Stocks are taken and reports are written and submitted to superior officers
  • The business is closed for the day.
c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Seafood Store Business?
  • Customer services skills
  • Interpersonal skill
  • Accounting and bookkeeping skills
  • Business management skills
  • Bargaining skill
  • Work experience in a retail shop environment
  • Experience in managing people
  • Experience in business administration
  • Experience in handling seafood and related grocery products.