The owner of Capt’n Paul’s Seafood said this week he hasn’t decided whether to keep the Salem store open when his lease is up in October.
Andrew Skelton said the business remains profitable and has a lot of support from the area. But he figures he could make more money working a shorter work week and in a job that would provide health insurance and other benefits for his family.
“I work 60 hours a week with no benefits and I make the same I’ve been making” since the store opened, he said. Skelton runs the store himself and said he’s taken three vacations in the past nine years.
In addition, the price of seafood continues to rise and the business’s profit margin is shrinking, Skelton said.
When the business first opened Skelton was able to mark up items 70 to 80 percent. The increase in the price of seafood is eating into his profits, and fish is now marked up about 20 percent, Skelton said. He doesn’t want to raise prices.
Skelton said he is open to selling the business. He is also sending out resumes in hopes of finding a job within the food industry before he has to make a decision about whether to renew his lease.
Skelton worked at the first Capt’n Paul’s Seafood in Roanoke. He managed the Salem store for the first three months it was open and then bought the business. The Roanoke store opened in 1998 at Towers Shopping Center and later moved down the road next to Heavenly Ham in a building off Colonial Avenue. Capt’n Paul’s founder, Paul Edward Corne, sold the business in 2006. The seafood market changed its name to Seafood Co. It closed in 2008. Corne died the following year.
(Note: This post has been updated to reflect that Skelton managed the Salem store for the first three months it was open and then bought the business from the owner).