In the 50+ years that SeaBear has been in business, both our company and our products have been featured in many magazines and publications. Here’s a selection of recent, and not-so-recent, articles.
Please contact us directly if you’d like more information on SeaBear or our products.
SeaBear Smokehouse –- marketer of the SeaBear and Gerard & Dominique brands of artisan smoked salmon --- has been awarded Level 2 SQF Food Safety Certification by the Safe Quality Food Institute, a global standard for rigorous food safety management systems. Safe Quality Food certification (SQF), which is administered by the Food Marketing Institute and recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), is a standard of excellence increasingly looked for by customers in the food retailing and food service industries.
“We are thrilled to now be an SQF certified plant, and proud to be part of their One World, One Standard certification.” exclaims Mike Mondello, SeaBear president. “This SQF certification gives our customers the confidence that we, as a small artisan smokehouse, have met the highest global standards for food safety.”
In addition to this Safe Quality Food certification, a number of SeaBear Company products have recently been verified by the NON-GMO Project.
SeaBear Company, a leading processor of premium smoked salmon in the United States, is proud to announce its Gerard & Dominique line of wild salmon lox and its SeaBear brand Ready-to-Eat Wild Salmon are both are now verified by the Non-GMO Project.
The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization that believes in offering consumers an informed choice about genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and is committed to building the non-GMO food supply, educating consumers, and providing verified non-GMO options.
Gerard & Dominique branded items which will carry the Non-GMO Project’s seal are: Smoked Wild Sockeye Lox (regular and sugar free recipes); Smoked Wild Coho Lox; and Wild Coho Gravlax. For the SeaBear brand, items now Non-GMO Project Verified are the Ready-to-Eat Wild Salmon line (Sockeye, Smoked Sockeye, Smoked Pink and Smoked King varieties). And, the company is already working with the Non-GMO Project to verify additional items.
“We’re very pleased to be working with The Non-GMO Project in our efforts to meet customer demands for transparency on this issue, and are thrilled to be among the first major brands in the smoked salmon category to do so.” said Karen Calvin Woodard, Vice President of SeaBear Company. “We received fantastic response to our new Non-GMO Project Verified certifications at the San Francisco Fancy Food Show, and will now begin shipping to customers immediately through both our wholesale and direct-to-consumer channels.”
Smoked salmon company SeaBear Wild Salmon has donated almost 1,000 pouches of its ready-to-eat salmon to active duty troops and military units as part of its ongoing Treat the Troops program, the company said in a release.
SeaBear began Treat the Troops, which donates one pouch of salmon for every pouch purchased by a customer, in 2013, and has since sent over 3,200 pouches.
"We appreciate that members of our country's Armed Services are often serving on our behalf in some pretty harsh conditions," said CEO and president Mike Mondello.
"These brave individuals will be able to enjoy a wonderful meal of Wild Salmon from the Pacific Northwest no matter where they're at – and those who have received our salmon have been so appreciative. Our customers have embraced this program, with donations nearly doubling since last year."
How a sampling of scallops helped seal an acquisition - by Eric Engleman Staff Writer
The deal: SeaBear Co., of Anacortes, acquires rival smoked-seafood company Gerard & Dominique Seafood, of Woodinville. The parties: Mike Mondello, SeaBear president and CEO, and Dominique Place, co-founder of Gerard & Dominique. When Mike Mondello traveled to Woodinville last fall to discuss acquiring Gerard & Dominique Seafood, a rival in the smoked salmon business, his strongest impression came after the meeting. Dominique Place, the owner of Gerard & Dominique, sent Mondello home with a selection of fine food samples, including smoked scallops. "Dominique said, ’When you go home, just toss them in a little olive oil and heat them up,’" Mondello recalled. "I was blown away. I remember telling my wife, ’Oh my God, I hope this deal goes through.’" Those smoked scallops oiled a remarkably smooth courtship that ended with Mondello’s company, SeaBear Co., acquiring Gerard & Dominique for an undisclosed price. The deal closed on April 1.
Mondello and Place are a bit of an odd couple. Mondello is a brash New York native. Place, who grew up in France, has a European sensibility and speaks with a heavy French accent. But a variety of factors pushed them together. Salmon prices are rising sharply, creating incentives for consolidation. At the same time, Dominique and his wife, Chouchou, were looking for an "exit door" for their retirement. None of their three adult children was interested in taking over the family business. Place got the ball rolling last spring, asking an attorney, Joe Brotherton, to reach out to possible buyers. Brotherton arranged to meet Mondello at the Washington Athletic Club, where the two are members. After a workout, they went upstairs and grabbed coffee to talk about Gerard & Dominique and whether SeaBear might be interested in acquiring the company. Mondello met a number of times with Brotherton and the Places over the next several months. He toured Dominique & Gerard’s 10,000-square-foot Woodinville facility. The discussions got increasingly serious, and by February of this year, the two sides signed a letter of intent. On the final weekend before the deal closed, Mondello, who was in Phoenix celebrating his 50th birthday with a bunch of childhood friends from Long Island, kept a vigilant eye on his BlackBerry. He stepped away several times to take phone calls or answer e-mails, at the risk of razzing by his buddies, as the final details got ironed out. The acquisition greatly expands SeaBear’s sales channels. The company specializes in online and catalog sales of smoked salmon gift boxes and other seafood products such as halibut, crab and prawns. The company also owns the Made in Washington retail gift stores. Gerard & Dominique does a lot of European-style or nova-style smoked salmon -- the silky, perishable variety -- and sells to supermarkets, hotels and restaurants. Its clients include the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, in Seattle, and the Morton’s of Chicago restaurant chain. Salmon prices have increased sharply in recent years, which was clearly a factor in the two companies’ calculations. Mondello said combining the two companies creates efficiencies with salmon and other seafood products. "Bringing the two product lines together mitigates some of the price pressure of salmon going up," Mondello said.
For Dominique and Chouchou, the buyout marks the end of an era. Dominique came to Seattle from France 33 years ago as a young chef, and worked in the local restaurant industry before starting Gerard & Dominique in 1990 with another restaurateur, Gerard Parrat. (Place bought out Parrat’s share of the business in 1998.) Place said he was "overwhelmed" for several days after signing the papers with SeaBear. He and Chouchou had built Gerard & Dominique from the ground up. Dominique even designed their first smoker, or as he pronounces it in his endearing French way, a "smok-eur." Since the acquisition, Mondello drove out to Woodinville to talk to Gerard & Dominique’s staff, and the Places came out to SeaBear’s plant, in Anacortes, to meet and greet the staff there. Combined, the two companies have nearly 100 employees. Dominique and Chouchou will continue running G&D as a unit of SeaBear. No layoffs are planned, Mondello said.
SeaBear acquires Gerard & Dominique Seafood
SeaBear Company, a national purveyor of smoked salmon and other specialty seafood, has acquired 100% of GD Seafoods, which does business under the Gerard & Dominique brand. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The acquiring firm believes that with this acquisition, the combined company enjoys the leverage of a broad line of high quality products, two respected consumer brands, and strength across multiple distribution channels, positioning it for significant growth in the high-end niche of the seafood business. Mike Mondello, president and CEO of SeaBear, said: "Both the SeaBear and Gerard & Dominique brands are built on premium product quality, specialty niche marketing, and a deep passion for customer service. This strong alignment of our core beliefs is what got us both interested in the potential of joining forces." Dominique Place, president of Gerard & Dominique, said: "We are thrilled to be joining the SeaBear team, as their depth in sales and marketing will allow us to serve our existing customers even better, and help us expand to reach new markets as well." Mr Place and his wife ChouChou, who together were sole owners of Gerard & Dominique, will remain with the company, as president and vice president of sales, respectively.
For the Sunday Bruncher Give friends "lox" of flavor - and some tasty Omega-3s: Sockeye Smoked Salmon is great for brunch (bagels and cream cheese not included).
SeaBear commemorated 50th anniversary with dinner party - by Kimberly Jacobson
SeaBear held a party unlike any other in the continental United States to celebrate 50 years in business in September. With customers and friends from coast to coast, SeaBear brought the party to them by creating the world’s largest dinner party. SeaBear, a nationally recognized purveyor of premier seafood, celebrated its 50th birthday with a simultaneous schedule of 50 dinner celebrations from coast to coast — spanning over thousands of miles, three time zones and a multitude of culinary and entertaining traditions. Fifty friends of SeaBear from across the country were chosen to host a dinner party for their family and friends. Mike Mondello, SeaBear CEO, hosted the event from the party of more than 150 employees and friends at company headquarters in Anacortes. To kick off the coast-to-coast celebration, Mondello connected with the parties all across the country via a Web cast where he was able to simultaneously toast everyone.
SeaBear creates niche by selling seafood, celebrating relationships - by Kimberly Jacobson
When Anacortes fisherman Tom Savidge and his wife Marie started smoking salmon in their backyard, they probably never imagined it would lead to a national company with annual revenue approaching $20 million. This year SeaBear is celebrating 50 years in business. The company has continued to grow from the first backyard operation by adding new products, changing its marketing strategy and keeping its focus on one thing — providing a good product for their customers. “We’re not in the business of selling fish. We’re in the business of helping people celebrate relationships,” said Mike Mondello, president of SeaBear.
In 1957, Tom and Marie began selling smoked wild salmon to local taverns. With that, Specialty Seafoods (later renamed SeaBear after a Native American legend) was born. The tavern owners loved Tom’s smoked salmon, but asked him to preserve it longer. Tom invented the gold seal pouch, which preserves the salmon naturally with no refrigeration required. He received a patent in 1971. Fifty years later, the company boasts an expanded line of products that include items like beer garden smoked salmon, seafood cakes, appetizers, desserts, chowders and soups, prawns and lobster. “We sell a wide range of artisan seafood, but the heart and soul of our brand is wild salmon, the signature seafood of the Pacific Northwest,” Mondello said. SeaBear has had three stages of growth over the past 50 years of business. From the late 1970s to the mid-1980s, the business sold gift products and redesigned the packaging to make it more appealing. “From that began both a robust catalog as well as a strong wholesale business nationally,” Mondello said. “That stage took it from local smokehouse to national business.” Gordie Harang bought the business in the mid-1980s and built the plant at 30th Street and T Avenue, taking the business to a full-scale production plant that enabled growth, Mondello said.
From the mid-1990s the company has evolved from a gift brand to also market for entertaining and healthy home dining. "We want customers to love us,” said Patti Fisher, vice president. “What we’re looking for is being part of celebrations with family and friends.” With more publicity about the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids, found in wild salmon, people are also learning about the health benefits of eating seafood, she said. “There was larger consumer awareness about salmon,” Fisher said. SeaBear also operates five Made in Washington stores throughout Western Washington. The chain was purchased by the company in 1992 and offers gifts with a local flavor, including SeaBear products. Virtually all the company’s salmon is from Alaska and it is all wild. Fish are hand filleted and workers use tweezers to remove the final bones. “Everything is done by hand. We really believe by using a hand process there is a better end product,” Fisher said. It is seasoned with salt and sugar and smoked for 14 hours. The plant’s smoker runs every day except weekends and smokes about 10 racks with 500 pounds of salmon each session. The smoked salmon is then cooked for just more than an hour before being packaged for sale. A local fisherman uses the leftover fish pieces for crab bait. “We really don’t have waste,” Fisher said. The most popular product is the company’s smoked salmon trio, which includes portions of smoked sockeye, smoking king and smoked keta salmon. Last year they shipped 35,663 trio orders, about 9,000 of which were sold through the catalog and Web site.
In addition to SeaBear’s catalog and e-commerce business it has a strong wholesale sales division with distribution through retailers such as QFC, Whole Foods and REI. The company also has a retail store in Anacortes attached to the plant at 30th Street and T Avenue. The company’s focus was initially on the holiday market. The plant would shut down for months at a time between seasons. “One of the first priorities was building a business outside the holidays,” Fisher said. After expanding its offerings, the company now operates year-round — but the holidays are still the busiest time of year. "During the holiday season we’ll be packed and calls will come in nonstop,” Fisher said. Now the company does about 30 percent of their sales in catalog and call center purchases. It has seen double-digit growth in sales and profitability for the past nine years. “At the holidays we are clearly competing with other premier food companies,” Mondello said, citing gifts and holiday food spreads. Year-round they are competing for entertaining and dining with high-end grocery stores and caterers. Mondello said the company’s target audience is affluent men and women with a passion for food. What sets SeaBear apart, he said, is what the brand means to customers. “We help them celebrate important relationships in their lives. We provide the product as well as the service,” Mondello said. With 95 percent of their customers ordering from out of state over the phone or Web site, he said it is important that customers feel a connection. “Thrilling our customers is hand and hand with our bottom line,” Fisher said. “We don’t want to be the biggest but we want to be the best.”
Taste for salmon fuels company’s growth - by Scott Terrell
ANACORTES - In a small salmon-processing facility near Fidalgo Bay, thriving catalog and Internet sales have a former backyard smokehouse approaching nearly $20 million in annual revenues. Every week, shipments of frozen wild salmon arrive there from Alaska and are filleted, pin-boned with tweezers, alder-smoked and vacuum-packaged before being shipped to Whole Foods, REI and directly to consumers in all 50 states. The company, SeaBear, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this month, has seen double-digit revenue growth for nine straight years, thanks to growing demand for its prepackaged salmon fillets. Later this year, the company will begin leasing a nearby warehouse facility to accommodate its annual surge in business that occurs around the holidays, when SeaBear’s payroll balloons from 75 workers to more than 150. Local fisherman Tom Savidge and his wife Marie founded the company — then known as Specialty Seafoods — in their backyard in 1957 and sold smoked wild salmon to local taverns and later to tourists on their way to the San Juan Islands. The company’s upward trajectory began shortly after the Savidges created and later patented a sealed package for preserving salmon naturally, without refrigeration. Tom Savidge died in 1974, and Marie Savidge sold the company in 1977.
Today, the company is owned by Mike Garvey, who’s the chief executive officer at Seattle-based Saltchuk Resources ... The company grew significantly in 1993 when it purchased the Made in Washington Retail chain. Today, the chain’s five stores account for 40 percent of the company’s sales. SeaBear’s most recent sales growth has stemmed from salmon’s growing popularity among consumers. Patti Fisher, SeaBear’s vice president of direct-to-consumer sales, said that consumers’ increased awareness of salmon’s health benefits has certainly helped their bottom line, but it’s the heightened interest in salmon as a high-end food that’s really driving business. Awareness of salmon’s health benefits “certainly didn’t hurt our business, but what’s driven it more is people who are entertaining with family and friends,” she said. Meanwhile, under company President Mike Mondello, SeaBear has added frozen fish, oysters, mussels, crab, various chowders and other value-added products that have helped stabilized the business year-round, and decreased its reliance on holiday sales. “Our target customers are often men and women who have a passion for food,” Mondello said.
One Good Salmon - by Kate Lawson, Detroit News Food Writer
Alaska’s Copper River is celebrated for its yearly wild salmon run, and right now SeaBear, a leading wild salmon purveyor, is shipping fresh Copper River sockeye during its "Straight from the River" event. This wonderful salmon needs very little to make it spectacular. In fact, SeaBear includes a free packet of sea salt and cracked pepper, along with simple instructions to roast the fillets slowly at 250 degrees for about 25 minutes. The results are amazing. Price for eight dinner-sized sockeye fillets is $74.99 (plus shipping), and there’s a wide variety of other salmon choices such as whole fillets, burgers and steaks, as well as smoked.
Reap the rewards of the world’s most famous salmon run by reserving SeaBear’s 2005 Straight from the River Wild Copper River Sockeye Salmon. During the week of June 13th, eight 6-ounce fillets arrive fresh at your door directly from the pristine waters of Alaska’s renowned Copper River.
All the bad press recently about dangerous levels of mercury in tuna and toxic chemicals in farmed salmon is enough to make anyone a fish-phobe. Sadly, avoiding fish – particularly meaty ones like salmon – can affect your health. Salmon is one of the best sources of the omega-3 essential fatty acids, which the body needs for mental function, cardiovascular health and to fight inflammation. Fortunately, SeaBear offers frozen wild salmon fillets with accompanying marinades and sauces, as well as portable single-serving pouches of cooked, ready-to-eat salmon. In the pouches, you can choose either sockeye, which has a more robust flavor, or pink, with a milder flavor. The 3.5-ounce packet of sockeye provides 22 grams of protein and 8 g fat, including 1,100 mg of those omega-3 fatty acids. The pink salmon has 34 g protein, 6 g fat and 1,700 mg omegas-3s. The price, about $6 a packet, might be higher than what you can get at your supermarket’s fish counter, but at least you’ll know you’re buying wild Alaska salmon.
"Every now and then we head off the regular path for this column and find gems like this product from SeaBear. If you are looking for an easy lunch that’s good for you and tastes great, order these packets. This probably was the best lunch I’d had at my desk in months. It couldn’t have been easier. Each pack hold fully cooked boneless/skinless pieces of wild salmon with a bit of sea salt. The company offers a booklet with ideas on how to prepare the salmon packets. I just ripped it open, piled the wild salmon onto a baguette and added the lettuce leaves I’d packaged separately. Every bite was great and I would have been sad I’d come to the end of my sandwich if I hadn’t been so full. Plus I had the satisfaction of eating something so healthy. The American Heart Associations recommends people eat two servings of omega-3 rich fatty acids (such as SeaBear salmon). There have been concerns in recent months concerning farmed salmon, but this is wild salmon that hold none of those worries. I’m planning to order more because if I’m stuck eating lunch at my desk, I figure I should at least have something I enjoy." – Sue Ontiveros
"Enjoy the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ when you serve SeaBear’s smoked wild salmon from the Pacific Northwest. The luscious Appetizer Sampler Collection includes a half-pound each of BeerGarden, Copper River, and Nova Style smoked salmon, plus salmon-and-spread roll ups, all rich in Omega-3 fats. It’s shipped on ice; thaw overnight and arrange the fish around a bowl of the sweet onion mustard that’s provided."
"First there was tuna in vacuum packs that needed no refrigeration until they were opened. Now, from SeaBear Smokehouse in Anacortes, Washington, comes Raging River Brand wild salmon in its own little pouch, 6 ounces of sockeye salmon from Alaska with just a touch of sea salt to add interest. Turn it into a salad or use it as a sandwich ingredient for the kids. Anything’s possible."
How to Shop for Heart-Healthy Fish
Boosting your Omega-3 intake is easy when you choose salmon. This popular fish tastes terrific no matter how you prepare it - baked, broiled, grilled, poached, hot, cold, in salads, or in burgers ... Wild-caught Pacific salmon is a great choice. Alaskan salmon earns particularly high marks for your health because they come from well-managed fisheries with clean waters. If you can’t locate wild salmon in your area, you can mail-order it frozen from SeaBear Salmon (800-645-3474; seabear.com). Most canned salmon is wild; cans labeled red salmon contain sockeye salmon, which has a more robust flavor than pink salmon, the other canned variety
SeaBear Healthy Hearts Wild Salmon Dinner Club
This sampler includes eight 6-ounce fillets of Sockeye, King, Coho, and Keta salmon (two of each kind), four complementary sauces, and a booklet on healthy eating from the American Heart Association. The omega-3-rich fish are wild-caught in Alaska and shipped frozen. .
SeaBear catches gourmet market with latest product - Steve Wilhelm - Staff Writer
Mike Mondello wants to give SeaBear Smokehouse Inc.’s salmon the cachet of a refined, upscale product sought out by epicures who are also health- and environment-conscious. Key to this ambition is Anacortes-based SeaBear’s newest product, called "Healthy Hearts wild salmon dinner fillets" — a package of eight six-ounce frozen salmon fillets, packed in dry ice with four sauces, shipped directly to consumers’ homes. It’s targeted directly at homemakers who want to impress guests, or can afford to spend freely on food. "In four months it’s become the most successful new product," said president and CEO Mondello. "It’s totally high end." With such innovations, SeaBear, long known for packaging expensive salmon gift boxes, is expanding into the mail-order gourmet market.
Since arriving at the company in 1996, Mondello has been recasting his company with new products and new target market. To do this Mondello is capitalizing on increasing public awareness of an array of seafood-related environmental and health issues. These include the sustainability of wild seafood resources, the importance of Omega-3 fatty acids for heart health, and increasing doubts about the environmental impacts of farmed salmon, as well as the health implications of the antibiotics and dyes that salmon farmers use. At the equivalent of $20 a pound, the Healthy Hearts fillets don’t find much of a market here in the salmon-rich Northwest. Instead, the company does about 95 percent of its direct-mail marketing business in tony neighborhoods in California, Texas, New York, Florida and Chicago, Mondello said. "We don’t compete on price," Mondello said. "Our brand doesn’t stand for anything but super-premium quality. We define our customers as affluent men and women who have a passion for food." SeaBear’s new product line has been catching the attention of the gourmet press. Earlier this year New York-based Saveur magazine published a one-page piece about SeaBear’s premium Copper River Salmon, entitled "Alaskan Pride." "Copper River salmon is a known name right now, like Niman Ranch pork," said Saveur food editor Melissa Hamilton in New York. Another important step Mondello is taking is to add the Marine Stewardship Council logo to its packaging. The London-based council certified Alaska’s salmon fishery as sustainable in 2000, and SeaBear has become one of the first seafood processors to use the council’s leaping fish logo on its packaging. SeaBear had to prove the origins of its fish to be able to use the label. "It shows the vision and leadership of SeaBear that they’re promoting the sustainability of the resource," said Karen Tarica, U.S. commercial project manager for the council’s U.S. office, in Seattle. Kristine Kidd, food editor for Bon Appetit Magazine in Los Angeles, called SeaBear’s environmental certification "important." "We know our readers enjoy shopping at farmer’s markets, and we talk about environmentally sound products more and more," she said. The new emphasis on frozen dinner portions and the epicure market is a marked difference from the company’s previous focus on the gift market. Mondello came to the company after a career as a marketing director for high-profile companies including Procter & Gamble and Celestial Seasonings Tea Co., and his mission was to turn SeaBear into a high-end brand name wit