Processor of the Month: Val Hammond of Royal Lagoon Seafood Co., Inc.

Name: Val Hammond

Name of Business: Royal Lagoon Seafood Co., Inc.

Business Address: 5208 Mobile South St. Theodore, AL 36582

Business Phone Number: 251-653-1975

Website: RoyalLagoonSeafood.com

Processes: Fresh Fish and Local Shrimp

Where were you born and raised?
I was born in New Orleans, and I spent all my summers on Dauphin Island. It was Paradise.

How did you come to work in Alabama’s seafood industry?
I needed a summer job when I was in high school. So, I grew up shoveling shrimp and ice. My boss got in trouble over me working overtime at 14. Then again during college, I was given an opportunity to be in the sales department of the large, well-respected shrimp company where I had worked all those summers. I can attribute my success to those first years, when I learned to take advantage of every opportunity to further my career and a very strong work ethic. Hard work does pay off!

What other jobs have you held within Alabama’s seafood industry?
I started my first company, Val’s Seafood Sales, in 1988 at the age of 22 and never looked back. Val’s Seafood was a domestic shrimp brokerage company that opened many doors for me. I had many good relationships with some very fine distributors across the country that taught me about marketing seafood. Then in 1996, I started Royal Lagoon Seafood that now services some of the finest restaurants and retailers all across the Gulf Coast and has grown to employ 21 people.

What types of seafood do you process/handle?
Royal Lagoon handles all types of seafood. We have the largest selection of seafood in Alabama. Our specialties include local, fresh seafood. And we have 2 shifts that process this seafood for next-day deliveries.

What does your typical workday involve?
We work hard! We load six trucks at 4:30 am to make on-time deliveries to our customers. Then I start searching and buying seafood for the next day. We have a big territory and our delivery trucks are able to pick up our purchases of this fresh seafood all across the Gulf Coast.

What makes your company stand out?
Our service and quality are the most important aspects of our business. And we make friends with our customers and vendors. That way we know each other’s needs. These relationships are the core of our business. We also learned a long time ago that cheaper is not always better when it comes to quality!

What are your professional goals?
To continue to provide employment for our many employees. And to build a business that can run without me.

What are your favorite hobbies?
Hunting and fishing, in that order!

Auburn or Alabama?

What’s your favorite seafood dish to serve to your family?
My family really loves local Royal Red Shrimp. That is another of our specialties!