As the nation celebrates its independence this July Fourth, Louie and Beth Larsen, along with the rest of the crew at The Net Result, will be busy marking the silver anniversary of their well-known Vineyard Haven fish market.
Twenty-five years of providing quality seafood to the people and restaurants of Martha’s Vineyard is no small accomplishment, and Mr. Larsen laughs as he recalls the early days at The Net Result, when the market still relied on pickup trucks for its deliveries and small chest freezers for storage. While Mr. Larsen was not entirely new to the fish market business — his father founded Larsen’s in Menemsha, which is still in the family — he had previously spent most of his time on the “catch,” not the “release” side of the business, working in his dad’s commercial fishing boats.
“I was a fisherman,” he smiles. “I wasn’t a businessman. I thought if you bought [fish] for one dollar and sold it for two you doubled your money.”
The Net Result’s success in the past decades has been “incredible,” says Jeffrey Maida, who has been working with the Larsens since 1986 “He’s been my right-hand man forever,” says Mr. Larsen.
“We’ve come a long way from when we first got going,” said Mr. Maida.
Both Mr. Maida and Mr. Larsen attribute the market’s growth, which has included new additions to the original Beach Road property as well as the inclusion of sushi on the already impressive seafood menu, to the connections they have made with their customers.
“You really can’t take away from the people you’ve met over the years,” says Mr. Maida. “You see customers that had kids, and then had grandkids, and they’re still customers, so it’s definitely kind of neat to watch families grow like that.”
The high caliber of the seafood being sold doesn’t hurt business, either.
“I wouldn’t sell anything that I wouldn’t eat myself,” says Mr. Larsen, who is himself “pretty partial” to yellowtail flounder and codfish.
“We push quality,” he adds. “People don’t mind paying for [that] ... one of the phrases we coined was ‘fresh fish isn’t cheap and cheap fish isn’t fresh.’”
About half of the sales at The Net Result are to local restaurants, with the other half going straight to the customer. Mr. Larsen and Mr. Maida arrive from their Chilmark homes before 4 a.m. every morning, setting to work placing the wholesale orders and preparing trucks for delivery before the market doors open two hours later. They don’t head home until 9 p.m. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, neither takes a full day off.
The time investment is simply par for the course. “It takes time to make sure everything looks right and is right, and the quality is there,” says Mr. Maida matter-of-factly. But the returns have been nothing but net.
The Net Result is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. this weekend. The first 1,000 customers on Sunday will receive a free T-shirt to mark the occasion. There will also be giveaways of sweatshirts and gift certificates in denominations of 25 dollars.