May Processor of the Month: Don Abercrombie of AquaSouth Seafood

Don Abercrombie is the president of Abercrombie Foods and AquaSouth Seafood in Clayton, Ala.

Name: Don Abercrombie

Name of Business: Abercrombie Foods / AquaSouth Seafood

Business Address: 335 Eufaula Ave., Clayton, AL 36016

Business Phone Number: 334-775-8205

Website: www.aquasouthseafood.com

Alabama Gulf Seafood that your business processes: Fish, Shrimp

Where were you born and raised?

I was born 20 minutes outside of Clayton, AL

How did you come to work in Alabama’s seafood industry?

I’ve always wanted to own my own business. I was a CPA before, and in the late 80s or early 90s, I started catfish farming. From the very beginning, it was a point of pride with us to put an emphasis on the point of purchase marketing so that everyone that buys our product will know just where it comes from. Then, about ten years ago, we started selling Gulf shrimp as well. One day I saw a shrimp processor walking across the street with his daughter, and it just hit me that I didn’t want these jobs to leave Alabama. I wanted to keep these seafood jobs right here at home. So that inspired me to go into the Gulf shrimp business as well.

What types of seafood do you process/handle?

We started out with peanuts and catfish, and now we’ve been doing shrimp for several years as well. Our latest product is a high-quality, all-natural microwaveable Gulf shrimp.

What does your typical workday involve?

I get up every day at 3 o’clock in the morning and work 12 to 18 hours a day. I’m involved in every aspect of the process, from sales to product development, and we do all of that right here in house. My son and daughter both work with the company, and my wife has another job but she likes to help out whenever she can. It’s really a family business.

What makes your company stand out within Alabama’s seafood industry?

One hundred percent of our product comes from the U.S., and it’s important to me to provide only the finest quality of product, the very best that’s available. Traceability really helps us stand out too, the fact that you can check the tracking number right there on the package and see exactly where your product comes from.

What are your professional goals?

I want to change the food industry. I want to offer the consumers the best product available, but also at an affordable price. On top of all that, I want to bring jobs back to the U.S. And this traceability aspect, I want that to be the standard not just for seafood but for everything we eat—produce, dairy, everything. I think that knowing where our food comes from lets us know the quality of the product.

What makes Alabama Gulf Seafood special?

It’s a chemical-free product, and it’s the best available. The processors are really open and easy to work with, and they’re accepting of new ideas.

If you didn’t work in the Alabama seafood industry, what line of work would you pursue?

I was a CPA before going into the seafood industry, but at this point, there’s really no other sort of work that I’d rather do. Seafood is just in my blood. This is what makes me happy, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.