From noon every Friday until late afternoon Sunday, Joyce and Whit Hayden share their knowledge and love of seafood at Seaview Crab Company’s newest location on Market Street.
The roadside market, next to Port City Produce (5740 Market Street), offers a full array of fish fillets, shrimp, scallops, clams, oysters, crabs, craw-fish and a variety of seafood seasonings.
It’s a beautiful sunny Saturday morning and cars are pulling into the produce stand parking lot. A man walks up to Whit and asks him if he has any live crabs available.
Though he has a full time job elsewhere during the week, Whit works the Market Street stand with Joyce every weekend.
“When I told him that I was thinking about working out here on the weekends, he said that he better work here too if he wanted to see me,” Joyce laughs.
A woman walks by the stand, stops, and stares from a distance.
Joyce waves her over and the woman asks if she has any shrimp.
“Do I have any shrimp?” Joyce echoes. “Oh, yes mam I do.” And she quickly opens the coolers and shows the variety of shrimp available for sale.
Shrimp perusal leads to a discussion about scallops and fish. Before long the woman has some swordfish, shrimp and seasoning to pair with the vegetables she just bought at the produce stand.
Joyce has been working with the company for almost a year, but she and her husband have been customers for more than a decade.
“For years we’ve had several friends come over every Saturday for Seafood Saturday,” Joyce explains. “They throw ladder golf and I would cook seafood. We’d fix whatever was fresh – fish, shrimp, maybe some crabs.”
When Seaview opened its doors at the Carolina Beach market, the Haydens would make their way to the market on Friday afternoons to purchase their seafood for their Saturday night suppers.
“What impressed me immediately about Sam, Nathan and Joe (Seaview Crab Company’s owners) was how they interacted with their customers,” Joyce said. “They always remembered and recognized us and wanted all their customers to be satisfied.”
She shakes her head. “Not all businesses today are like that. In fact, most places you are forgotten but at Seaview they know that business is all about the relationships.”
“I was looking at job listings, because I knew I had to go back to work,” she said. “Even though we went to buy seafood from Seaview every week, it never crossed my mind to apply for work there,” she said.
She believes it was divine intervention that brought her to Seaview. After praying one afternoon for help in finding a job, she went back to her computer to look at job postings from various agencies.
“There was a four-month old ad on there from Seaview and who knows how it was still on the list,” she said. “It shouldn’t have been, but once I saw it I thought, that’s where I need to be.”
She applied for the job and started working at the Marstellar Store last fall. She is not only a fishmonger for the company, she also assists with payroll and has additional office management responsibilities.
Making the transition from customer to fishmonger was an easy one for Joyce.
“My dad was a commercial fisherman, so I grew up comfortable culling shrimps, crabs, whatever he got. And, my husband grew up on the intercostal waterway, so as a boy he was clamming in his back yard,” she adds.
When Nathan King, one of Seaview’s owners, mentioned the possibility of opening a stand next to Port City Produce, Joyce knew she wanted to be a part of that endeavor.
“We love being out here, selling seafood and talking to all the people,” she said. “This is a perfect mix, being able to get your fresh vegetables and fresh seafood all in one stop,” she says. “Come on out and see us.”
Catch you next time.
North Wilmington Market
5740 Market Street
2016 Summer Hours:
Friday: 12 – 7
Saturday: 10 – 7
Sunday: 1 – 5