For people, age can be a touchy subject, but for a business, old age is a quality to advertise. In consumers’ eyes, the more “years of experience,” the more reliable the service, the more reputable the provider. Local communities prefer longevity as well: Established companies give back via donations and sponsorships, they boost tourism, and they even help shape an entire region’s personality.
The following five companies are over 50 years old (some well over) and are commercial icons of the North Shore. Although industries differ, they have a few key things in common—a sense of history that permeates their operations and an ability to morph with the times without losing sight of core values.
Gorton’s Seafood: Since 1849
Everyone knows the jingle and has probably eaten a fish stick or two. Gorton’s is a freezer aisle fixture—the company’s fish sticks and fried fish fillets are staples for many a family.
Gorton’s walks the walk with a 150-plus- year-old past tied to the fishing industry. The company was originally founded by a father-son duo in 1849 under the name John Pew & Sons. This small precursor eventually merged with Slade Gorton’s Rockport-based fishing business and two other Gloucester fisheries in 1906 to create Gorton-Pew Fisheries. In light of the merger, the expanded company opened offices on Rogers Street in Gloucester, where the main office is still located today.
“Many folks know us as ‘Gorton’s of Gloucester,’ ” says CEO Judson Reis. “We’ve been fortunate to have the same beautiful view of Gloucester Harbor from our main office across the street for over a century—with some structural updates, of course.”
Interestingly, Gorton’s was the first to develop a frozen convenience food— fried codfish fillets—but has focused recently on healthier options such as gluten-free grilled fish and “artisan” fillets with bold-flavored breadcrumbs. Not surprisingly, the trademark fish sticks and fillets “remain some of our most loved and best-selling items,” notes Reis.
Recently, the multimillion-dollar company turned its attention toward sustainability. “It’s become a priority for us,” says the CEO. “Over the past five years, we’ve implemented world- class sustainability practices under our ‘Trusted Catch’ platform and moved from sourcing 64 percent of our wild- caught seafood from certified fisheries to 97 percent in 2013.”
“There is still a lot of work to do on this sustainability journey,” asserts Reis. “But as the leading seafood brand in America, we view it as our responsibility to help create change and to ensure that generations to come can enjoy a great variety of delicious seafood.”
This article was originally published by North Shore Magazine. Click here to read the rest of the article.