Billy is the owner of Billy’s Seafood in Bon Secour.
Name: Billy Parks
Name of Business: Billy’s Seafood
Business Address: 16780 River Road, Bon Secour, AL 36511
Business Phone Number: 1-888-424-5597
Alabama Gulf Seafood that your business processes: Fish, Shrimp, Crab, Oysters
How did you come to work in Alabama’s seafood industry?
I was born and raised in the seafood industry. My dad, granddad, and great granddad were all fisherman and dealers. It’s a family business. At 16, I quit school to help my dad shrimp. Then at 17 I left shrimping and helped my granddad at the processing plant. I started Billy’s in 1975 with my granddad’s help.
What types of seafood do you process/handle?
We process shrimp but sell all types of Alabama Gulf seafood in our retail market.
What does your typical workday involve?
I typically get up at 4am and get to work about 5:50am. I work until about 6pm 6 days a week. June to November is our busiest time. I do at little of everything while at work—work a little in the retail market and some in the processing. I do everything from unload boats to shoveling ice to checking customers out.
What makes your company/organization stand out within Alabama’s seafood industry?
We’ve been here a long time and we’re established. I hate to brag, but I think we have a good reputation. I ask people all the time how they found us—we’re about 5 miles off the highway and they’ll say that we came highly recommended by others. We’re also the only open-air market in the area. We have a large selection and carry seven different sizes of shrimp.
What is something about Alabama’s seafood industry that everyone should know (but they probably don’t)?
I don’t think people realize how much it is a way of live and a family business. People who are native to the Gulf have been doing this for 150 years—it’s in their blood.
What is the most unusual thing that’s ever happened to you on the job?
Back in the mid to late 80’s, we unloaded 50,000lbs of shrimp off a boat in one day. That was kind of crazy. Last year, while I was going over some paperwork in the office, my son, who was working downstairs, came up and told me that Wild Bill (Bill Wichrowski) from “Deadliest Catch” came to the shop and wanted to meet me. I actually sell some of his crab and we’ve become pretty good friends.
Auburn or Alabama?
Love college football. Roll Tide. Love NASCAR too.
What are your favorite hobbies?
Deer hunting—rifle and bow.
Do you own any pets?
No pets, but lots of grandkids.
If you didn’t work in the Alabama seafood industry, what line of work would you pursue?
Maybe open restaurant, although everyone tells me I wouldn’t really want to do that. Or maybe law enforcement.