Salmon company quietly turning Galesburg, Illinois, into the Wild Alaskan Salmon Capital of the Midwest

September 5, 2012 04:53 PM
Nic Mink, Sitka Salmon Shares founder
Sitka Salmon Shares, a direct-to-consumer seafood company that specializes in sustainably harvested fish and operates the Midwest's first Community Supported Fishery, continues to surpass sales goals. Membership in Sitka Salmon Shares' Community Supported Fishery just topped 300, making it one of the largest Community Supported Fisheries in the country.
"We obviously have a service and a product that people want," said Nicolaas Mink, the company's Chief Salmon Steward and President, adding, "A growing number of consumers desire a personal connection with the producers of their food. Before us, you just couldn't get that with seafood in the Midwest."
Beyond the Community Supported Fishery, Sitka Salmon Shares has just partnered with Gotham Bagels, a Madison, Wisconsin-based restaurant, to shift the restaurant's lox production to salmon from one of Sitka Salmon Shares' fishermen. Beginning in September, diners at Gotham will enjoy lox caught exclusively for Gotham Bagels by Marsh Skeele on the Fishing Vessel Loon. This partnership will come complete with POS marketing material that highlights Skeele and the Loon and will be celebrated by a four-course salmon dinner at Gotham on September 29 and 30.
In addition to the expansion into Wisconsin, the company also noted that it is expanding sales into Bloomington-Normal, Illinois and Indianapolis, Indiana. Mink noted, "Sales are about 2 ? times what we forecasted and we should have 400 members shortly. This is an important validation of our business model. We are looking to continue growth and expand not only our market, but our product line as well."
Sitka is a recent addition to Galesburg's Sustainable Business Center (SBC) and is considering expanding its facility there. Eric Dilts, the SBC's Business Incubator Director, said, "Sitka fits in well with what we're trying to do here, and that is to give startup sustainable companies the support they need to grow and thrive. Sitka joins a growing list of companies like Lamboo, Intellihot, Pennycress Energy and Blackburn Sampling that are competing, growing, and contributing to creating an economy with sustainable practices."
Congressman Bobby Schilling (Illinois - 17) remarked, "We're all becoming very familiar with the Sustainable Business Center, and the type of successes they are helping to create, and Sitka Salmon is certainly one of them. It great seeing young people take an idea and go with it, and to see signs of success so early," adding, "The SBC and companies like Sitka Salmon aren't just talking about it, they are doing it. I am pleased to have an incubator like the SBC and the companies it houses, like Sitka, in our district. This is very encouraging and something that needs to be replicated around the country."
Echoing the Congressman's remarks, Mayor Sal Garza said, "The SBC is doing what it set out to do - give sustainable startup companies the boost they need to succeed. This is one of the few incubators devoted to sustainable companies and I'm proud it's in Galesburg."
In addition to introducing sustainably caught seafood to the Midwest, Sitka has also introduced an innovation distribution model to the business. Sitka connects consumers with small boat family fishermen, whose sole mission is to catch the highest-quality salmon using the most sustainable methods of harvest, and have it delivered directly to their homes. Mink summed up the operation by noting, "We're remaking the food system one bite at a time."
For further information about Sitka Salmon Shares call Nic Mink at 309/343-1191 or email at To find out how the Sustainable Business Center can help grow your sustainable business contactEric Dilts .


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