“Just a quick note to let you know how much my husband and I enjoyed your New England Style Clam Chowder. I was at the store here in Kelseyville, California and saw the can with the Bar Harbor label. The soup certainly lived up to my expectations and we will definitely have it again. It was better than many we have tried at restaurants on our trips to the coast. Thanks for having such a great product.” -Barb
“Ladies and Gentlemen, We just love your soup!! We took it back home to Bavaria (Munich) from a one-week (too short) visit to Maine. Now we need to get more!! How can we order some more cans?” -Thomas
“To Whom it May Concern, I just want to thank you for the wonderful products you sell. The ingredients and preparation are first rate. I eat a great deal of seafood, and have enjoyed every Bar Harbor product I have tried. I am a loyal customer. Thank you.” -Cosmo
“Just purchased your New England Clam Chowder at my local grocery store. I added milk and butter as suggested, to the soup. WOW! It was worth every penny! My five year old daughter even commented that this soup was better than the soup we usually eat. She ate her entire serving! That rarely happens! No other brand of canned clam chowder (that I have tried, and there are many on the list) compares to your clam chowder! Keep up the good work. I can’t wait to try the Lobster Bisque!” -Jean
“I just wanted to let you know how much I love your Lobster Bisque! My family loves it. It is such a decadent and indulgent treat. Your Lobster Bisque is consistently delicious! It tastes like such a gourmet meal! We have it for every holiday.” -Rebecca
Source: Bar Harbor
Simple. Honest. Seafood.
Bar Harbor Foods prides itself on it’s ability to deliver the highest quality seafood products from the coldest, cleanest waters on the East Coast to seafood lovers across the country. Because we start with only the freshest ingredients, it is our company’s mission to preserve the integrity of the food that we bring from the docks of Maine to your table.
In fact, honest, delicious food is part of our Downeast heritage. We prepare each of our authentic, all-natural seafood products by hand in small batches in our kitchen on Holmes Bay. Our specially trained staff hand-sorts every mussel, clam and lobster, ensuring that we maintain quality, freshness, and the best taste possible during each step that our seafood travels between our kettles and our customer’s pantries.
For us, quality and food safety go hand-in-hand. While we have stayed true to the legacy of producing pure, simple food that our company’s founder, Willard Look, established in 1917, we also pride ourselves on the many safety and quality-ensuring measures that we have added to our production process. Each step in our production chain has been implemented and is maintained according to the standards of the Safe Quality Food Initiative (SQFI), which was developed to continuously improve food safety management systems, and provide confidence to consumers.
We have taken great care to document each of these processes, and integrate them into Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), which our employees follow while producing each small batch of our top-quality seafood products. Each of them has seen the difference that building quality into every step of production makes in our products. As a result, our family of employees takes great pride in hand-sorting our seafood for quality, hand-packing our seafood meats into infinitely recyclable steel cans, and inspecting each of our Green Seal certified recycled labels.
Because of all of these efforts, we know when we ship a pallet of our traditional Downeast products to our retail partners, that it contains the best tasting, highest quality, and best looking products on a retail grocery shelf. At Bar Harbor Foods, Quality is our Maine Distinction.
Source: Bar Harbor
Maine Small Business Owner of the Year: Mike Cote, President & CEO of Look's Gourmet Foods/Bar Harbor Foods
March 19, 2012
WHITING, Maine — Last week was busy for Michael Cote, president and CEO of Look’s Gourmet Food Co. in Whiting.
It started with a trip to Anaheim, Calif., to pitch the company’s high-end Bar Harbor Foods products at a natural foods expo. Then he caught the red-eye out to hit the premiere East Coast Boston Seafood Show. Then he headed back out to the West Coast for the remainder of the expo.
It may sound like a lot of travel, but everything’s relative. Cote travels more than 200 days each year, marketing his company’s goods to customers everywhere. That work has been a key part of making his company successful, said Cote, who was named the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Person of the Year for Maine this week.
“Being a small business owner is not easy,” said Cote.“You got to take the bull by the horns. Nobody represents your products the way you do.”
Born to children of immigrants who worked in Maine’s textile mills, Cote bought Look’s in 2003 after discovering the assets of the 86-year-old company. Until that point, Cote had spent his career working for other people in the foods industry, with high-level tenures at companies that include Pepperidge Farms for 18 years and at Odwalla, before it was sold to Coca-Cola.
“In a few short years, he has turned that around into a thriving, profitable business that’s adding employees as they grow, and is becoming a national presence, all down on the shores of Holmes Bay,” said Harold Clossey, executive director of Sunrise Economic Council, who nominated Cote for the award. “That’s pretty cool.”
Clossey also is an SBA award winner this year, having been named the Financial Services Champion of the Year for both Maine and New England.
Cote said in buying the assets of a company that had closed, it was clear the business had to be run differently to be successful.
“That immediately told me I had to change how things were run,” said Cote. “We reinvented this entire brand. We differentiated ourselves in the marketplace — we do those niche things bigger, better than our competitors do. That’s been the main focus of our company. We don’t just do seafood products, we do unique, qualitative seafood products.”
They market products under the Bar Harbor Foods brand. Products include Indian pudding, clam chowder, clam juice, lobster chowder, crab bisque and many others.
That focus on value-added products, and a diverse mix of them, has allowed the company to be successful as other seafood canneries have fallen by the wayside, one at a time. There used to be 42 canneries up and down the Maine coast, Cote noted. Today, Look’s is the last.
Cote said he was very proud to get the award, but said it was really recognition of the work his 26 employees are doing.
“I just think it’s a great thing for our company,” he said.
Clossey noted that much of the canned seafood market is now in Southeast Asia, Thailand, Vietnam, and similar countries. To have a factory in Maine competing successfully in the market says something, he said.
“It shows the entrepreneurial spirit is very much alive in Washington County,” Clossey said.
Source: Bar Harbor