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Behind the Scenes at Mega Distributor Lonestar Lobster

[Photos by Alexander Gregg]

It might not be apparent to the average passerby, but located at 4044 W. 12th St., behind the unassuming office front, lays one of the most sophisticated lobster wholesale operations in the city. Founded in February of 2011 by Chris and Melissa Harrington, Lonestar Lobster has been striving to bring the New England lobster experience to Texas. It took six months to get the facility up and running; since then, they have been moving thousands of pounds of lobster every month. Looking out over the 15,000 gallon reservoir makes it easier to realize the scope of their operation. The massive tank allows them to hold a whopping 30,000 lbs of lobsters, all destined for restaurants and grocery stores in the greater Houston Area.

It's no accident that Lonestar Lobster is set up right next to seafood distributor Louisiana Foods. "They're our big distribution partner," explains Chris. "They really help us grow the business, especially in the first year."

Lonestar Lobster buys lobsters by the run, meaning that they take whatever the fishermen pull out of the ocean. By taking the task of sorting the lobsters on themselves, they are able not only to pass on significant savings to their customers, but also to ensure a level of quality that other distributors can't. "With regard to the quality, the less the lobster is handled the better. Our lobsters come off the boat in their crates, go straight on the trucks, and aren't handled until we sort them here. They are really only handled during our in-house sorting process which only consist of weighing and grading each piece (lobster) and putting them into the tank."

Most exciting of all are Chris and Melissa's plans for the future of the business. They plan to launch an endeavor called Lobster Local, bringing their wholesale buying power to bear on the private, retail market. The idea is simple, to allow the public to participate in the purchase of their superior product at an affordable price. "There are so many companies that do business on line through Fedex and via shipping. This raises the price for the consumer. We want to do local delivery, where if you get your order in by five o'clock, you'll have your order at your doorstep the next day. So if you want to have a lobster bake at your house, we'll start with the lobsters, but the next step will be cooking supplies, stock pots, crackers, anything the public will need for any kind of event they want to have. It doesn't really even have to be an event, if you want lobster for two or for four or six you'll be able to order that and have it delivered straight to your door."

The launch date for Lobsterlocal.com is August 1st. The website is currently under construction, but for order inquiries or any questions Lonestar Lobster can be reached by phone at 832-377-2975. They also have their main website, which has interesting lobster facts and an email contact option on the home page that will send a message directly to customer service.

--JD Woodward

· Lonestar Lobster [Official]

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