Birmingham’s Inland Seafood Inc. announced 150 jobs last year as it expands production at its 40,000-square-foot facility. The company is set to introduce a new line of food and begin packing for companies that deliver frozen meals to consumers similar to Blue Apron or Hello Fresh.
The company has come a long way from its humble beginnings in Atlanta in 1977, when a pickup truck, a cooler and a dream of bringing high-quality seafood to the Southeast were what the business was made of. Now, 41 years later, the company is the largest seafood distributor in the Southeast, selling more than 2,000 fresh, frozen, smoked and specialty seafood items to over 5,500 restaurants and 2,500 retail outlets.
Its Birmingham facility added 150 jobs in 2017, landing it on the Birmingham Business Alliance’s New and Expanding Industry List. The company also announced a $4.7 million investment in 2017 and has added more drivers, warehouse and packing employees as it grows. Inland Seafood has facilities in four large Southeastern cities – its headquarters in Atlanta, Birmingham, Charlotte and New Orleans. The Birmingham facility serves mostly as a meat processor.
“We have a lot of fun doing this,” said sales manager Brad Yellock. “We are all one unit and we have a good time. Nobody is different than anybody else. We all have one job – move food.”
Inland Seafood services 13 states, and the Birmingham facility specifically services Alabama, Mississippi, and western Tennessee.
“People in Mississippi don’t want to get products from Atlanta,” Yellock said. “It helps to get products locally. The food culture nowadays is that people want original, locally produced food.”
The company is 100 percent employee-owned, Yellock said, and, as all employees share ownership, they all contribute to the company’s success.
“We preach that, because everyone has a share of the company, that it’s very important that we work together to take care of each other, delivering quality products in a timely manner with a clean truck,” Yellock said. “We want to take care of our employees and leave a good mark on the earth.”
The company’s expansion means job creation for the Ensley community of Birmingham, where Inland Seafood’s facility is, said Nigel Roberts, Director of Community Development for the City of Birmingham.
“Inland Seafood growing is a good benefit to us because it is about job creation and opportunities,” he said. “It goes back to the (Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin’s) mission of Putting People First and neighborhood revitalization while at the same time making sure jobs are being brought into the population.”