Gary Skinner is the owner of Skinner’s Seafood in Dauphin Island, Ala.
Name: Gary Skinner
Name of Business: Skinner’s
Seafood Business Address: 1012 Bienville Blvd., Dauphin Island, AL 36528
Business Phone Number: 251-861-4221
Processes: Fish, Crab, Shrimp and Oysters.
Where were you born and raised?
How did you come to work in Alabama’s seafood industry?
I originally worked as a jeweler and watchmaker. I switched to another end of the spectrum to start shrimping in 1975. After running my own boat for 9 years, I went into the seafood retail business. I ran the shrimp boat for years and now my sons run it and that side of the business. “Our business is 100% family.”
What types of seafood do you process/handle?
We sell fresh, wild caught fish, crab, shrimp and oysters. We primarily sell shrimp. The shrimp that we sell mainly comes from our own shrimp boat A.S. Skinner, which is one of the larger shrimp boats in Mobile Bay, but we also source some from other places.
What does your typical workday involve?
I’m ready to go at daylight every morning. I load the showcase with our fresh seafood and fresh ice. I get the employees started when they arrive. During the day, I pick up supplies from different wholesalers and fishermen. If the A.S. Skinner is coming in from a trip, we will unload the shrimp first thing in the morning. On the shrimp boat, that’s a hard day’s work. It will be about 10-12 hours. During the summer in the retail store, it’s really busy. We could at any given time have 20 customers in line and 10 phone calls in a row.
What is something about Alabama’s seafood industry that everyone should know?
It doesn’t get any better. When it comes to the way Mobile Bay shrimp and oysters taste, it doesn’t get any better.
What is the most unusual thing that’s ever happened to you on the job?
Hurricane Frederick took out the Dauphin Island Bridge when I was living there. We had to go to the Bayou (Bayou La Batre) to unload shrimp. We were working with another retail business at the time, and when they went out of business, he started retail and they’ve grown and grown.
If you didn’t work in the Alabama seafood industry, what line of work would you pursue?
If I wasn’t working in the seafood business, I would go back to being a jeweler setting diamonds or making watches.
What’s your favorite seafood dish to serve up for yourself and your family?
It doesn’t get any better than our shop’s fried or steamed shrimp. It’s a toss up which one is my favorite.
What makes Alabama Gulf Seafood special?
Quality. All we sell is quality. The combination of fresh water with the delta waters of Alabama gives our seafood a genuinely unique taste that you won’t find anywhere else.