The Story Behind the Seafood Stand at the Brunswick Riverwalk
Seaview Crab Company’s seafood stand at Brunswick Riverwalk Park is part of a town initiative toward healthy living.
It doesn’t seem possible to be a visionary while engaging in time-honored behavior, but Mark Anderson has found a way. Anderson is the manager of Seaview Crab Company’s Brunswick Riverwalk Market. Seaview Crab Company has been selling locally caught, fresh seafood in the Cape Fear Region for more than 10 years, with five open air markets. Yet Anderson made the first Brunswick County location happen, playing a pivotal role in the emerging future of the Brunswick Riverwalk Park in Belville.
When Anderson graduated from University of North Carolina-Wilmington, he was excited to get a job with Seaview Crab Company. He spent time on the boat, shrimping and crabbing and learning the waters. Over time, he grew to know the business and believe in the product it sold. So when it was time for Seaview Crab Company to expand into Brunswick County, Anderson was the right person to run the new stand.
It just so happened that the Town of Belville was actively looking for a vendor to come and experiment with bringing local food to residents. Through extensive additions to the Riverwalk Park throughout recent years, town leaders have sought to design a park that is a hub of healthy living. They want it to be more than a place to zip down a slide. They want it to be reminiscent of the environment in the 1800s, an homage to the plantation that was formerly on the grounds, where the land outside the door fed the people who lived on it. A food stand featuring local farmers was a perfect match, so they took a chance on the Seaview Crab Company market.
Since the spring of 2017 Anderson has sat under a tent every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, regardless of weather, selling the best the company has to offer, such as tuna, grouper, wahoo, oysters, shrimp and triggerfish. The offerings are different every week, but the most popular are the thick, boneless fillets that Anderson personally cleans, prepares and vacuum wraps. Everything is fresh, nothing is frozen. All of the seafood is clearly labeled with the date and location it was caught.
On a Friday afternoon in mid-January, close to a dozen shoppers stopped by within one hour, some new but many regulars. Now, without driving out to the beach, Brunswick County residents can get the best fish boasted by the waters not far from them. It is a Friday night meal that not only celebrates the uniqueness of the region but also is sure to impress. It seems to be a winning combination for residents, who have made the Seaview Crab Company Belville market so popular that the stand and the market as a whole are expanding.
“Everybody [in Brunswick County] has been super supportive,” Anderson says. “This area has more of a community feel than some of our other markets.”
It certainly seems a winning combination: supporting local fishermen and businesses, taking home freshly caught seafood and enjoying a location in a beautiful new park with views of the Cape Fear River. The success of the market has spurred the Town of Belville to encourage and grow the seed they’ve planted. In February a permanent pavilion was built to house farmers market vendors. Joe Breault, mayor pro tem for the Town of Belville, says that come spring Seaview Crab Company will be joined by other local food vendors, creating a northern Brunswick County Farmers Market.
“We want this to be more than a park,” Breault says. “We want it to be an educational, recreational, environmentally centered area where we also promote a healthy living lifestyle. Part of the healthy living lifestyle is to promote healthy foods. So the first thing we wanted to do was have a reputable vendor who would provide seafood products, and green products, so we approached Seaview Crab because they have experience running farm stands.”
At the time of publication, projected vendors included Port City Produce, a local chicken farmer and another small Brunswick County artisan food company.
“We want local farmers to get involved,” Breault explains. “We are trying to promote Carolina grown products and produce. Everything we are doing, we are doing to be regional in concept.”
For Anderson and his crab company, they don’t see this as competition. They see it as an addition to what they already offer, which is quality food you want to serve on your table that night.
“This is a young town,” Anderson says. “There is a lot of new growth and customers that are new to the area. They are more used to the open-air market and embrace it.”
This is exactly what Breault and the Town of Belville are relying on.
Want to go?
Visit Seaview Crab Company Brunswick Riverwalk Market
Belville Riverwalk Park, 580 River Road, Belville