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At The Market - Family Businesses at the Fulton Fish Market: Blue Ribbon Fish Co.

From the Newsletter

A Cooperative of Fishmongers

New York’s iconic Fulton Fish Market is a cooperative consisting of dozens of family-owned fishmonger businesses which have existed for generations. These companies procure fresh seafood from across the world but specialize in local, sustainable fish caught in U.S. waters. sources fresh seafood from each of these companies ensuring that you receive the best and FRESHEST seafood available.

Family Businesses at the Fulton Fish Market: Blue Ribbon Fish Co.

Pictured above: Noah Samuels, David Samuels and Bobby Weiss

Blue Ribbon is a family owned business that has operated at the market for five generations. Founded at the docks of South Street, Manhattan, Blue Ribbon’s mission is to provide the best possible quality of fish and seafood.

The Fish and Seafood Industry has changed a great deal since the time when only local production was possible. Today, there are not only deliveries of locally caught fish, but fish from all over the world! Blue Ribbon Fish has changed with the times, adapting to serve the restaurant industry and remaining ahead of the curve as far as globalization is concerned. Over the last 10 years, the move of the Fulton Fish Market to Hunt's Point has provided Blue Ribbon Fish with the ability to expand from 15 employees to 50!

"It's a hardworking business where if you're a hard worker and have a brain, you will succeed." - David Samuels, owner of Blue Ribbon Fish Co.

Pictured above: Blue Ribbon Fish Co. at Sloppy Louie's in the early 1970's. From the left, David Samuels, his uncle Seymour, his father Leo, his uncle Julie and cousin Bobby.

In 1931 David Samuels' Grandfather took a horse and wagon over the Brooklyn Bridge into the city to purchase fish. There he met a man with a boatload of fish and realized that was better than selling Flounder by the slice! The draw of the fish business has kept generations of Samuels in the game.

David Samuels, the owner of Blue Ribbon Fish, started working summers at the Fulton Fish Market in 1968 at the age of 17. His grandfather had three sons running a business that mandates hard work and strong ethics. Today, David enjoys the company while working alongside members of his family. His son, Noah, has recently left Wall Street to work with his father at Blue Ribbon Fish and continue the family tradition. David explains, "It was never a legacy thing for me. It's a fun business and a way to make a living. We don't sit behind a desk, we don't wear a suit and tie. With whatever Noah chose to do, I wanted him to be happy, but I am proud that he chose to come work in the family business."

"The benefit of working in a family business," according to David, "is that I can take a vacation and know that the business is being cared for while I am gone. I have people that I trust, I work with my family."

Noah Samuels, David's son and Blue Ribbon's newest family member to enter the business, is fascinated by the work ethic of the fishmongers of the Fulton Fish Market. David explains that the people at the market were the true draw in bringing Noah into the family business. "Fishmongers work hard and there are no 'posers' in this business." David says, "You can either do it or you can't." As a family-operated business at the Fulton Fish Market, Blue Ribbon is well poised for the future and excited to be serving more and more customers every day.

"My grandfather would surely be tickled pink to know that 5 generations later, we, as a family, are sustained by something that he started. He would also be surprised at the price of fish!"

"The quality astounds me every day. Every day I say 'WOW! Look at that Striped Bass' and I've been looking at striped bass my entire life!" -David Samuels

"There's nothing like the Fulton Fish Market!" says David, "There's nothing like the volume and variety anywhere in the world. 1-2.5 million pounds of fish and seafood comes through the market every night. I was in the fish business 50 years ago and the increase in demand for the product and the way in which fishermen care for the product is so much better than it once was." The Fulton Fish Market is situated in a beautiful and refrigerated facility now and the clientele just cannot believe their eyes upon visiting.

The change in the fish industry through modernization has enabled, not only people from the New York metropolitan area, but people from all around the country to experience the best and freshest seafood available via "People who are experienced or even people who really want to try new things now have the opportunity to do so," David explains.

"It's exciting. It's exciting for the customer and it is exciting for the fishermen to have a great market at their disposal."

When asked about his passion for selling seafood based on its remarkable health benefits, David clarifies, "I'm no doctor. I'm no scientist, but everything you read about eating seafood is that it's extraordinarily healthy. It's clear that when you eat fish, you feel better the next day." One of David's favorite aspects of fish is that there are so many different kinds available. From shellfish to finfish to crustaceans, and on.

"It's so cool even beyond the health benefits, I just love to eat fish and they all taste different. I enjoy a good steak as well, but they all taste the same! 80% of the seafood we sell is wild-caught."

When going to restaurants around NYC, David says he still loves to order, you guessed it, FISH! "I eat fish every day and it's exciting for me to see what the chefs do with fish!" David recalls being in the fish business when no one in the New York area had even heard of sushi and the prospect of eating raw fish was still new!

"The only foods that are still hunted are truffles and fish, and truffles are $1800 per pound!"

Pictured above: Mike Spindler, of and David Samuels having fun at the market. "When a fish guy gives a tech guy a fish to hold!"

As a cooperative, the vendors at the Fulton Fish Market work together to provide the nation with the world's best seafood. is proud to partner with Blue Ribbon.

"I think about tomorrow's fish, whereas guys like Mike Spindler with are thinking about the future of the market and how to bring the best fish to the rest of the country." -David Samuels