BASS HARBOR—A York-based live lobster wholesaler has acquired C.H. Rich and is looking to grow the business.
Maine Coast, which sources North Atlantic lobster from the U.S. and Canada for worldwide distribution, purchased the Bass Harbor lobster wharf in late April and immediately took over operation of the facility to buy local lobsters, said its president, Tom Adams.
“We’re looking to expand the volume of lobsters we buy through that facility and we intend to invest in that facility,” he said.
C.H. Rich has been a mainstay in Bass Harbor, operating for more than nine decades. In 2015 it was sold to Canadian lobster processor Les Pecheries de Chez Nous. In 2016, Bangkok-based Thai Union bought the majority of Chez Nous and then later took full ownership of the facility.
Adams declined to name the price for the facility, which is Maine Coast’s first acquisition for a direct-buy station Downeast.
The deed for the property was signed over to Premium Brands Seafood, the parent company of Maine Coast, on April 16, according to records from the Hancock County Registry of Deeds.
In the past, Maine Coast has depended on a network of owner-operators, co-ops and dealers to get lobster, but the company has been planning to buy more lobsters directly from fishermen, according to Adams. The purchase of C.H. Rich was a big step in that process.
“We’re looking to expand our footprint on the coast of Maine,” he said. “This is one step to do that, but we are also looking for other opportunities.”
The company currently ships about 10 million pounds of lobsters annually and has a distribution center in Boston. There are about six full-time employees at the Bass Harbor facility.
“We’re excited to have access to the high-quality lobsters in that area,” Adams said.