Family-owned and operated Quoddy Bay Lobster is an iconic Eastport, Maine, attraction, currently open for its 12th season. Famous for its lobster, the business owns and maintains a wharf, a critical part of working waterfront infrastructure, and also manages a seaside restaurant, fish market, and most recently an ice cream shop run by the youngest members of the Griffin family.
Through the Working Waterfront program and with help from CEI, the family owns their own wharf which has been built by the family. “All of the wood we use is cut by the sawmill that my husband owns from family wood lots. I mobilize the Quoddy Bay owners, (her husband, son, and two brothers-in-law) and together our family gets things done,” said Shelly Griffin, who co-manages the restaurant with her daughter-in-law Sara. “During peak season at the restaurant, we pick over 200 pounds of lobster every day. Our seafood has won numerous awards and our customers rave about the view of Campobello right across the bay.”
With 21 employees, Quoddy Bay Lobster is open five days a week, and six in the summer, for five months a year. The family diversifies its workflow during the off-season by operating numerous other local businesses.
“Eastport is a little town with a whole lot going on!” –Shelly Griffin, Quoddy Bay Lobster
Access to Capital in a Time of Need
When the Eastport breakwater collapsed on December 4, 2014, it severely damaged several boats in Eastport, Maine. One of those boats was Double Trouble II, owned by Brent and Sara Griffin. Brent Griffin, with his father and uncles, are also owners of Quoddy Bay Lobster, which employs 14 people and relies on the lobsters Brent catches to stay in business.
Faced with an urgent need for a new boat and a tight window before the 2015 lobster season began, Brent and Sara immediately began working with Ruth Cash-Smith, a Certified Business Advisor for CEI.
“Ruth was incredibly helpful right out of the gate in helping us identify possibly sources of funding for our new boat. In a very short time frame, Ruth turned up several opportunities for us that made it possible to get Triple Trouble built before the start of the 2015 season.”
— Sara Griffin
Cash-Smith helped the Griffins leverage a $150,000 bank loan along with a $90,000 TIF (tax increment financing) loan and a $15,000 TIF grant – all within a 28-day window. The new boat launched five months later in May, and the captain and crew agree the vessel is bigger, more stable, and safer. Also the Triple Trouble was especially designed to Brent’s specifications so he can work his boat far more efficiently. “So far, so good,” he reports, although, like most Maine fishermen, he wishes the catch had been heavier this year.