Coastal Maine is dotted with lobster buyers and working wharfs, they vary in size and operations. Generally, the further downeast you go, the more rooted in heritage and tradition these operations are. This is certainly true of Look Lobster, which is owned and operated by Sid and Bimbo Look, father and son, third and fourth generation lobster buyers and wharf owners whose family has nimbly navigated the ups and downs of the fisheries – all of them- for more than a century. With the addition of Bimbo’s nephew, Sidney Look, Look Lobster is now a 5th-generation operation.
In 1910, two sea captain brothers, Oscar W. and Bert S. Look, began selling groceries, general goods and marine supplies to Jonesport residents and local fishermen from their wharf on Old House Point. Their daily purchases of seafood from the cold waters of the Atlantic included lobster and crab. Now a fourth-generation business, the Look family carries on the tradition of lobster and crab buying and wharf operations, in a diversified and integrated manner, reflecting business savvy and experience. Look sells wholesale and retail seafood, provides cold storage trucking services, and bait for commercial fishermen. The operation is integrated from the wharf through the distribution.
There are parts of Maine where the expression “You can’t get they-uh from hey-uh” is true, and Jonesport is one of them. And from his wharf in this small coastal town, nearly 200 miles from Portland, Bimbo and Sid run an efficient lobster, bait and trucking company. It’s no easy feat running the logistics for this vertically integrated company that owns both the buying, the trucking and the distribution of lobsters and crabs, we well as buying and selling bait. On the lobster side, they land and move a few million pounds of annually, with much of the product going to Canada.
The bait business is a significant part of what Look does. Bimbo designed and built a herring receiving station at the wharf and buys roughly 700,000 to 800,000 lbs. of herring from a single herring seiner, which the company owns. Providing that offering to fishermen is critical these days with herring quota being cut and bait availability always an issue.
The greatest opportunity for the industry, Bimbo believe, lies with the change of bait supply. “The reduction in herring quote have forced our industry to look at the types of baits we source – making it a great opportunity for new business growth which will decrease the cost of bait and ease up the herring use in the future. Kind of like the lemon to lemonade story!”
What does Bimbo love about his work? The ever-evolving nature of the business “this industry changes daily, sometimes hourly – it’s a moving target and you learn new things every day!”