Hoopers Island Oyster Co. turns to local customer sales during COVID-19 Pandemic
CAMBRIDGE, Md. – Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, oyster farmers on the Eastern Shore like Hoopers Island Oyster Company, have been struggling when it comes to sales. But they’re coming up with new ways to ensure their business stays afloat, while also serving, the local community.
“All the restaurants are closed so we’re sort of seizing the direct consumer grassroots here locally, “said Senior Manager of Sales Fabrication, Chris Wyer.
What was supposed to be a year full of profits and sales of oysters bred and raised right here on the Eastern Shore has been cut short. As the coronavirus forces restaurants across the country to reduce their services to simply take out and delivery only, Hoopers Island Oyster Company has taken quite the hit.
“We ship products out through tractor-trailers and they go up to Baltimore, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, and Seattle. And that just spreads it across the nation. At this time, the oyster orders have gone to zero,” said Wyer.
In an effort to make up for the lost revenue, the company decided to fast forward their plans of creating a market to sell their oysters directly to the community.
“What we’ve been doing is selling here in Cambridge at Emily’s Produce, at Simmons Markets, and we just got back into the farmers’ markets,” said Wyer.
And these oysters aren’t only available at farmers’ markets. Hoopers also opened a retail store at their Cambridge facility for customers near and far.
“What we try to do is by appointment only, and sort of pre-order them, and we can have them here in Cambridge or we can organize a pickup in Annapolis or Easton. It’s been a difficult time, but we’re really trying to keep the money local as best as possible,” said Wyer.
And while there’s no telling exactly when the pandemic will end, Hoopers Island Oyster Company says they’ll get through this, as long as they have the support of the community. If you’re interested in making an appointment to purchase or pick up some oysters, or if you’d like to have oysters shipped to you you can visit here, or give them at 410-397-3664.