This year marks Boston Sword & Tuna’s 50th year in business, and we have come a long way. It all started in Sicily, where the Scola family originated from, both on the docks lumping boats and on the boats as fisherman. When Peter Scola came overseas to America and continued lumping boats on the old Boston Fish Pier, his son - Paul P. Scola - soon followed his footsteps and got a working permit at age 15 to carry on the Italian family tradition. Paul eventually partnered up with Roland Harrington and in 1972 founded the widely respected R&P Seafood/Shellfish right on the old Boston Fish Pier. R&P primarily specialized in groundfish, sourcing haddock and cod from Nova Scotia, Maine, and Chatham. It wasn't long before brothers Michael, Paul, and Steven Scola took the reins of R&P. Then, in 1999, they started adding divisions in pursuit of expanding their product offerings. This goal led to us moving out of our old building in 2001, and into a brand-new facility down the road on Seafood Way, doubling our size in space. Then in 2003, Michael Scola and (retired) Tim Malley founded Boston Sword & Tuna. As the years passed, we continued to grow and extend our product line, and then in 2007 officially merged R&P and BST under Boston Sword & Tuna. This led to another expansion which added ten more doors for shipping, and again doubled the size of our facility. This allowed us to expand our operations, adding a full range of fillets to our product line, as well as prepared foods, both of which were large factors in how we became “America’s One-Stop-Shop for Seafood” (BST).
Fast forward to today, and we at BST are honored to have been named the winner of the eighteenth annual Team Massachusetts Economic Impact Award for our contributions to the Massachusetts economy! With the completion to the construction of our state-of-the-art 50,000 square foot facility in 2019, we were able to achieve our safe quality food (SQF) certification for this location. Our SQF certification is the highest standard in the industry and shows our commitment to guarantee only the best quality seafood on the market. We have a continuously controlled temperature monitoring system in place to maintain the sustained freshness of all our seafood that we process, as well as a completely automated ozonated water system (with both on and off-site monitoring) which ensures the proper sanitation of all rolling equipment such as forklifts and pallet jacks. These were key components we prioritized when moving into this location because we knew investing time and money in these areas would improve our production capacity and support our continued growth. We not only invest back into our own business, but we also feel strongly about supporting our community and giving back any way we can.
Over the past five years we have teamed up with the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes foundation, which is an organization of combat veterans who are committed to memorializing fallen soldiers and supporting Gold Star Family members. Every July we donate $5 from every box of Patriot Oysters we sell to the MFH foundation, and since we began this promotion, we have raised over $50,000 for their cause. We have also teamed up with Pink Ribbon Oysters for the past five years during the month of October to support breast cancer awareness month by donating 25% of all PRO sales to breast cancer research. In addition, we work with food pantries around the Greater Boston area by donating pallets of seafood products to the less fortunate community and also work with various pet food brands to see that our gurry is utilized in items such as cat and dog food. Gurry is the fish offal or waste that is left behind after cutting and cleaning a fish and is usually comprised of fish skins, bones, and organs which are all still very nutrient rich and incredibly beneficial to our pets. We here at BST also feel strongly about our environmental impact and as a seafood wholesaler we utilize quite a bit of Styrofoam due to its insulating power. Styrofoam has specific guidelines for how to properly recycle it, and most local governments do not accept it curbside, so instead it needs to be brought to a recycling location where it can be broken down and compacted. We decided to eliminate this step out and invested in our very own densifier, which sustainably breaks down and compacts all our used Styrofoam into dense bricks, which can then be utilized as things like insulation, window frames, etc.! These are just a few of the avenues we as a company utilize to help give back to and support our community in an impactful way.
At the start of our expansion, we employed 140 individuals. However, with our increased space, along with our increased production capabilities, we were able to add another 44 jobs this year alone! We have plans already in motion to re-invest back into the business with an 8,500 square foot expansion which is expected to be completed by late 2022/early 2023. Upon completion of this expansion, we hope to add an additional 15 employees which would bring our total employee count to over 200 workers! As a fifth-generation seafood company, we have a combined 400+ years of experience in the industry just in the buying and sales office alone. Today, our team of well-rounded seafood professionals allow us to not only survive in this industry but thrive. Larry Dore joined BST in 2012 as a partner and is well respected in the seafood industry, with nearly 38 years of experience; Mike Machado, one of our lead buyers, spent a decade fishing the Grand Banks before dropping anchor with BST; Bobby Blaikie – our GM – grew up on the Boston Fish Pier; we even have a former five-star chef on our diverse team, Peter Safner, along with so many more amazing employees! Again, we are honored to have received this award from MassEcon and look forward to continuing our part in the stimulation of the Massachusetts economy, as well as the continued growth of the Boston Seaport district.
In addition to receiving the MassEcon award last week, we also had the pleasure of having WCBV’s Chronicle 5 come by our facility to learn more about Boston Sword & Tuna. Chronicle is the nation’s longest running and highest rated locally produced television magazine program in the country, and airs on WCBV Channel 5, Boston’s ABC affiliate station. The show has been running for 40 years, having made its debut on January 25 of 1982, and has won awards such as an Emmy as well as a DuPont for being the featured magazine show about life in New England. Chronicle is constantly evolving and delivers to viewers consistent stories that explore the fabric of New England. We had the opportunity to show them around our state-of-the-art SQF certified facility here in Boston and talk with them about how our company has grown over the past 50 years, and how we plan to continue our growth moving forward. With moves such as our 8,500 square foot addition to our building we are currently developing, we are not only expanding our physical space, but also our processing ability as a company. We were also able to show off a few of our products in our test kitchen, where Chronicle reporter Ted Reinstein and our HR manager/in house chef Nick Francescucci cooked up some delicious seafood including fresh mahi-mahi chops, delicious sea scallops, our exclusive brand of Perfekt salmon as well as some incredibly fresh lobster rolls. Keep your eyes open in the coming weeks for Boston Sword & Tuna’s feature on Chronicle 5 which airs weekdays on WCBV at 7:30PM EST.