Many companies in Canada have made deft moves and had to pivot to stay alive through the pandemic of Covid-19, and one of those companies is Walcan Seafood of Heriot Bay, B.C.. They process and market fresh seafood from Quadra Island, next to Campbell River, B.C.. 

They deliver fresh and frozen fish and prawns and a couple dozen food products to customers on Vancouver Island and Vancouver. The Walcan Seafood processing plant switched to include direct sales to customers, instead of just operations shipping pallets to Vancouver for distribution to restaurants and retailers.  

It was a case of 'turning on a dime.'

"We were in the same position as everybody else last March (2020)," says Grant McNeil, Sales Manager, Walcan Seafoods. "Covid-19 restrictions fell into place and many of our traditional channels disappeared overnight." They had salmon, prawns, and tuna in freezers to move, and needed to find out where it could go. 

"One of the ideas was to put up a website and sell direct to customers. We offered free delivery on purchases over $20, delivery on Tuesdays and Thursdays on Quadra Island and Campbell River. Our first Tuesday we had 40 orders, our next day, Thursday, we had 80 orders."

At that moment, management realized people would be filling their larders with fresh wild fish and seafood online in a demanding market. A wider program to expand sales direct to customers went through the planning phase. "We moved south on the island to Nanaimo, then later Victoria, then filled the gap from Mill Bay to Ladysmith all in 2020.  Earlier this year we crossed the Inside Passage to Metro Vancouver."

The Metro Vancouver expansion is now serving Richmond, Langley, Surrey, Delta, Burnaby and New Westminster. The logistics of opening the rest of the market are presently being arranged. "We transport by 40 foot container truck to a fleet of sprinter vans and independent distribution companies contracted to deliver a variety of new fish product to your door."

Walcan put the menu of Tide to Table online, a mouth-watering showcase (www.tidetotable.ca) of product, price and availability, orders are made on individual dishes or medleys of fresh frozen seafood.

THE WALCAN STORY 

The changes brought by Covid-19 create the need for seafood harvesters to adapt. For example, Walcan has sold Dungeness crab, a product previously found on restaurant menus exclusively. Walcan sells mostly seafood wild caught in B.C., in addition to P.E.I. lobster and Alaskan salmon currently. 

The pandemic crisis in health has refocussed many families about their diet. Seafood is proven to be a health conscious choice and, not insignificant is the coastal nature of the market for Walcan. People on the coast take fresh wild salmon for granted most of the year, black cod, ling cod, in season, halibut in October, the west coast has a diet entwined in local seafood.

"We have 26 different products and 24 of them are B.C. caught." Online ordering gives Walcan a front-line position with customers. "We have red seal Chef Brandon Pirie adding various value-added products and recipes to the menu. We get excellent customer feedback from direct sales service, which is helping us tailor the menu," says McNeil.

"When we are operating at full capacity, we have 200 people on the job. At minimum in low times through the year we have 50. We sure aim for a predictable 52 weeks of work but fortunately we don't have too much down time. The quasi-seasonal nature of the employment does, however, make human resources a challenge."

DELIVERY INFORMATION 

All frozen items are delivered in a recyclable cooler with gel packs. Questions? Reach Walcan at walcaninfo@walcan.com 

Check out Tide to Table YouTube channel for unboxing videos, recipes and more! 

Walcan Seafood Plant & Head Office:
Box 429
Heriot Bay, BC
V0P 1H0
Phone: 250-285-3361

Walcan Seafood to Order

2021

"Walcan creates seafood products that keep consumers coming back for more. Our product specialties include fresh commercially caught wild salmon, retort salmon, salmon roe, BC spot prawns and bait and food grade herring."

Link to Tide to Table at Walcan Seafoods
Full Details on Delivery of Tide to Table by Walcan Seafoods
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Check out Tide to Table YouTube channel for unboxing videos, recipes and more! 

Walcan's Tide to Table Recipes on Youtube

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