Today we’d like to introduce you to Bill Dugan.
Bill, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started my business in 1977 in SF, and moved it to the Napa Valley the following year.
I sold my companies in 1988 and accepted a consulting position with Nordstrom, which brought me to Chicago to review their property in Oakbrook.
I fell in love with the people in Chicago, unlike SF which is quite transient, everyone I met was from here.
That went a long way with me.
I signed on to head up marketing for the first mariculture operation of its type in the U.S. raising Pacific White Sturgeon.
We were based near Sacramento, but since I was travelling a lot, I decided to live in Chicago.
I eventually was selling more than the farm was able to produce, so I started to offer the Chefs additional items that I knew they would be enthusiastic about, and ended up starting Superior Ocean Produce.
A few years later, developing a new facility, I decide to add a retail component.
The Fishguy was conceived in 1996 and opened its doors in 1997.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
You work 7 days a week when you are in the service business. Particularly when you are supplying globally recognized restaurants. There have been a few bumps along the way, as it’s difficult to find people to grow the business with. The demands are too great for many, and I understand and accept that.
Working the holidays, and being unable to visit family during those times has always been a drag.
However, I have provided a living for many fine people, and developed relationships with talented Chefs, that continue to this day.
Early on, I learned everything from true culinary masters, (who most people would not recognize now), but they instilled a drive and curious nature in me that still greets me each day. There is so much still to learn.
Please tell us about The Fishguy.
I’m a fishmonger.
I have spent the past 40 years learning to source unique fish and shellfish from all over the world.
I was among the first to ship seafood coast to coast by airfreight.
I used Flying Tigers then as most major airlines had no such program, but my Uncle Gene was a retired Pan Am Executive, and he guided me.
I introduced the terms Diver Scallops, Ruby Trout, Mahogany Clams, Sturgeon Bullets and other nomenclature, which reflects creative marketing, but longevity as well.
I’m proud to have provided careers to many and influenced cuisine. I still try and contribute every day.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Olfactory memories stand out.
Cedar forests, Concord grapes, low tides, perfume on a woman, things such as that.
I was #8 of ten children, and we had marvelous childhoods.
My brothers and sisters, always took great care of me.
Laughter will always be among the finest moments I recall.
- Address: 4423 N. Elston Ave., near Montrose Ave., Chicago
- Phone: 773-283-7400 or 773-283-8400
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.fishguy.com