New Place to buy fresh seafood on Marco Island--friendly people who try very hard to please: Lee Be Fish Company in the Shops of Old Marco.
Catching up with a new business: Lee Be Fish Company fresh to Marco
By Jenine C. Ouillette
MARCO ISLAND — Bring the kids — shucks, bring the whole family to the Lee Be Fish Company, which opened for business Dec. 9, in Shops of Old Marco, 350 Royal Palm Drive.
Here, you can now purchase the freshest clams, oysters, as well as the quality snapper, grouper and other local fish, literally off the boat and hand-line caught by Stanley “Lee” Tinter, Lee Be Fish Company Inc. president/owner — who doesn’t use a net because he believes in protecting local marine life.
“I’ve always wanted to open a retail shop to get fresh local fish directly to the public, Tinter said, explaining that everyone knows him as “Lee” and the Lee Be Fish Company name is his little private joke (and leave it at that).
“I was raised in Coral Gables — 42 years old and one of the original crackers. I spent 20 years in South Florida fishing up and down the Keys and around the Dry Tortugas, until I moved here in 1998 and began fishing the local waters.”
The big draw here at the store, arguably, is for kids who’ll especially want to see loads of live Maine lobsters swimming along nicely in the store’s 300 gallon saltwater tank. The tank was built by Glenn Kulik, Lee Be vice-president and resident aquaculture specialist. He will be managing the retail end of the corporation and provide technical expertise as well as utilizing his New England wholesale seafood contacts to supply the store with, for instance, live Maine lobster and steamers.
“I came down here (Marco Island) two years ago from Newport, Rhode Island. Actually, my specialty is aquaculture, and I built our 300 gallon tank and designed the filtration system that keeps the lobsters in prime condition. Lee and I met while fishing and became buddies. Lee was mostly wholesaling at the time but he also wanted to open a retail store to supply the community with fresh local fish, while I’m knowledgeable about filtration and cold water crustaceans, lobsters and crab, and shell fish like the steamers — it seemed like a good combination.”
When a space became available in Shops of Old Marco six months ago, Lee and Glenn decided to join forces and open the store.
“I, of course, already have all the Federal and State of Florida permits and licenses required for commercial fishing, but it took us a while to get a permit to operate a retail seafood business,” said Lee, adding that it also took a while for Glenn to build the lobster tank and design the filtration system.
“We’ll be offering live Maine lobster and shellfish in addition to rock crab and stone crab,” said Glenn. Not to mention dry pack scallops, fresh whole blue crabs and soft shell crab when available, and locally caught snapper and grouper caught by Lee.
“It goes without saying we both stand behind our quality and freshness of everything we sell. Later down the line we plan to expand our equipment to be able to offer steamed to order lobster and clams. But for now, we’ll have fresh fish fillets available and recommend methods of preparation and seasonings or you can pick out a whole fish and we’ll gladly fillet it for you and even wrap up the head and bones separately so you can make stock,” said Glenn.
Down the line, Glenn said he hopes to offer at least four kinds of gourmet-quality pre-seasoned and prepared fish fillets in individual containers that, “You can take home and all you have to do is put it in the oven!”
For now, The Lee Be Fish Company will be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. — but Sundays are not definite.