Walcan sales manager, Grant McNeil, says he’s excited about the new storefront and administrative office in Campbell River, which marks a new phase if retail offerings from the company. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Walcan casts its line into the retail market

New storefront open downtown in Home Hardware plaza to better serve customers and employees

Based on Quadra Island, Walcan Seafood Ltd. has been a producer and wholesaler of B.C. seafood products around the world since the 1970s.

But as of a few weeks ago, they have started offering it on a smaller scale to the general public.

While they’ve had a couple of retail market aspects for some time, with the opening of their new storefront in downtown Campbell River, they’re adding another dimension, according to sales manager Grant McNeil.

“We’ve had our SeaChange line of primarily smoked salmon and seafood paté products in retail settings across Canada since the mid ’80s,” McNeil says, “but what’s very new for us, that we have not dabbled into, is the frozen product.”

So why now?

McNeil says it’s an ideal time to make this move to a Campbell River-based retail outlet – located in the same plaza as Home Hardware, Thong’s Jewellery and JK’s Meat Cave – for a number of reasons.

“It’s something that has been percolating for a long time, but the impetus to do it now was the tipping of our workforce towards people coming from Campbell River that made this just make sense now,” he says. Almost half of the company’s approximately 100 employees come from this side of the water with the rest being local to Quadra. Combine that fact with what he calls, “a huge trend in food, certainly in the last five to 10 years, is that idea of eating local and supporting local business, and with a lot of our seafood products being caught right here in the Johnson Strait and all of it is from B.C. – we think that’s important for people.”

McNeil says he’s confident they will be able to offer a high-quality seafood product that people will appreciate out of the storefront – at a competitive price.

“Our offerings are going to be very seasonal,” he says. “You might come in every other Monday and see a completely different selection, but as of right now we have B.C. sockeye fillets, frozen B.C. sockeye steaks, and B.C. spot prawns.

As of next week, we’ll also have B.C. halibut. And Campbell Riverites know their seafood and they know quality, so we’re going to make sure we’re giving them our best product.”

And having an administrative office on this side of the water is important for employee convenience and hiring, as well.

“Having people’s first touchpoint not have to be going across to Quadra Island and going out to the plant – half of which is down a long dirt road – if we can have a meeting space here where we can showcase some of our product and showcase the West Coast vibe, especially for people who may be new to town, that’s really a huge advantage to us,” McNeil says. “This will be a big help in terms of being a place we can do interviews and meetings. A lot of our full-time office staff will have the flexibility of being here, but even for, say, a part time employee working maybe three days a week to not have to go over to Quadra to get a paystub or any other correspondence, it’ll be a huge convenience to have an office on this side.”

Speaking of employees, McNeil says there’s never been a better time to apply.

“The end of the super busy season will likely be October – that’s what projections look like right now – and starting a couple of weeks ago, we need to be hiring people every single week. If we don’t, we’re going to be really behind the curve and we won’t be as flexible as we need to be.”

McNeil says the first big splash the new location will make will be at Home Hardware’s 80th anniversary parking lot event on Sept. 16.

“They’ve been nice enough to ask their partners here in the plaza to join them as part of the celebration, and we’re hoping to get a barbecue going out there on the day and be a part of the fun,” McNeil says.

“So far, the response from the community has been great.

“We opened the admin aspect here before we had any of our retail product here, and during that process, we had a lot of people poking their head in the door who recognized the logo on the door asking what we’re doing. The interest level has been fantastic.

“We’re really excited to be trying new product and bringing in new things. I can’t say exactly what that’ll be, but let’s just say you never know what’s around the corner.”

Just Posted

Campbell River Fire Department douses truck fire on Inland Island Highway

A driver pulled over when the engine in his truck started smoking… Continue reading

High-speed internet connectivity for coastal communities one step closer to reality

Sub-sea fibre-optic cable will circle Vancouver Island and connect the North Coast to Vancouver

The Campbell River Festival of Films announces winter season line up

The Campbell River Festival of Films (CRFF) has unveiled its 2018 Winter… Continue reading

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

‘Heavy-handed’ Campbell River bylaw amendment to get ‘tweaks’ before being passed

City looks to control invasives and noxious weeds by holding property owners accountable

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

Toronto man charged in double homicide

A 66-year-old man is charged with first-degree murder in disappearance of two Toronto men

Comox cannabis lab takes step forward towards reality

A former Comox Valley resident and current adjunct botany professor at UBC… Continue reading

Carpet bowlers have been excluded from BC 55+ Games and Canada 55+ Games

Gold medal carpet bowling winners not able to defend their titles in 2018

No crackdown, just education as BC Ferries’ enacts smoking ban

Fines and extra patrols not happening at this time as ban begins Monday

Police to provide update on unsolved 13-year-old B.C. girl’s murder

IHIT say no one has been arrested or charged in connection with Marrisa Shen’s death

Rural B.C. students score visit with Canadiens netminder Carey Price

Two students from the Caiboo Chilcotin can hardly wait to meet hometown hero Carey Price in Montreal.

VIDEO: Elk parade on Vancouver Island is awesome sight

They’re out in force for a morning stroll. Check out some of Youbou’s famous elk.

North Delta’s Colton Hasebe named BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s 2018 Champion Child

Colton takes the reins from 2107 Champion Child and Tsawwassen resident Taylin McGill

Most Read