Coastal Seafoods of Minneapolis, a major player in the Midwest’s food chain, announced a sea change of its own Thursday.
Owner Suzanne Weinstein is selling the 35-year-old retail and wholesale business to Fortune Fish & Gourmet in Chicago.
“When they first approached me about a sale, it was like we were listening to ourselves,” Weinstein said. “They’re as committed to sustainability and our employees as we are. I’m thrilled.”
Weinstein, 67, said all employees will remain, including general manager Tim Lauer. Both retail locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul will continue under the same name. The wholesale division will be renamed Fortune Fish. Weinstein will remain as a consultant for an indefinite period after the deal closes at the end of the month.
Local chefs and cooks credit Weinstein for transforming the supply of fresh seafood to the Twin Cities and beyond. Her multimillion-dollar company supplies fresh seafood to more than 300 restaurants, supermarkets and natural co-ops in Minnesota, Nebraska, the Dakotas, and areas of northern Iowa and western Wisconsin.
“We were lucky to have her vision 35 years ago,” said Brenda Langton, owner of Spoonriver restaurant in Minneapolis. “I’ve gotten some of the best seafood ever from her.”
Kristin Tombers, owner of Clancey’s Meats & Seafood in Minneapolis, considers the people at Coastal to be experts at quality and service. “You can see their attention to quality and detail by the way they pack the fish,” she said. “Getting seafood shipped to the Midwest, you’d expect hordes and hordes of problems but it rarely happens with Coastal.”
Fish on the Midwestern dinner plate used to be limited to walleye and salmon, if there were any fish at all, according to a Star Tribune story about Weinstein in 1990. Most seafood used to be transported by truck instead of air. Weinstein put the pieces together to get fish flown in from all over the world.
“In growing our footprint in the Midwest, we wanted to find a company that shares our commitment to customer service, quality products, and seafood sustainability,” said Sean O’Scannlain, Fortune’s president and chief executive in a statement. “Fortune will introduce our complete line of gourmet products to Coastal’s Midwest market.”
This is Fortune’s third acquisition in the last four years. Started in 2001, the company handles more than 8,000 seafood and gourmet products for restaurants, private clubs, hotels, and independent retail stores.
Weinstein has no plans to retire after the sale. “I’m on several boards in the Seward neighborhood and I’m helping some people open a wellness center behind Coastal Seafoods in Minneapolis,” she said. “I have lists.”