Katlyn Graham: Hello. I’m Katlyn Graham, here with Bonnie Scatterday, the Shipping Manager at Woodman’s. Welcome, Bonnie.
Bonnie Scatterday: Hi.
Katlyn: Hi. Thanks for joining us today. We’re discussing Woodman’s shipping of seafood, which you are in‑charge of. Bonnie, when did Woodman’s start shipping seafood?
Bonnie: Woodman’s, basically, started shipping seafood when customers started calling and asking for the products that we carry. I’d say mid ’90s or so, we started shipping just on a basis of somebody calling and asking for something.
We would package it up the best we could, send it off by FedEx, and hope for the best. Then probably late ’90s or so, they developed a plan and we put together few packages that included lobsters, steamers, the things that were requested most from the customers. It’s just really grown over the years since then.
Katlyn: How has the shipping department at Woodman’s evolved over the years?
Bonnie: We had a shipping manager early 2000 that did a lot of research. She tested out some of the products that people had been requesting that we were unfamiliar with as far as the shipping.
Fried clams were one of them. People always wanted to know how they could get our fried clams. She developed a fried clam kit, which we now carry and is very popular. Last year, we started sending out our clam chowder, which is award‑winning, so that was very exciting. Now, we have both the fried clam kit and the clam chowder kit, as well as our lobsters and clampings.
Katlyn: Wow. Quite the variety there. Lobsters, clambakes, chowder kit, and a fried clam kit. How do you package all these various items so that they arrive fresh?
Bonnie: We package the product in a styrofoam cooler, thick insulated, and it’s put into a cargo box for the shipping. We use frozen gel packs.
Depending on the what the product is, that helps to tell us how many gel packs we need to keep it alive. All product is shipped live, we have to make sure that it arrives alive. We do guarantee its freshness. That’s very important to keep it cool. [laughs]
Katlyn: Every lobster that you send out is alive and will arrive alive?
Katlyn: Wow. You had mentioned FedEx before. Is that who ships all of these for you?
Bonnie: We ship all of our product FedEx Express, either one‑day or two‑day delivery. Our lobsters and clam bakes ship on a one‑day, overnight basis. The clam kit and chowder kit are shipped two‑day.
Katlyn: I know you’re shipping to various areas around New England and all over the country. Where can you ship to?
Bonnie: We ship everywhere within the continental US. We do not ship to Canada. Unfortunately, we get many requests from Canada, but we don’t have the permitting for that. Everything stays within the continental US.
Katlyn: All 48 states except Hawaii and Alaska. Now, what if you’re having a large event on a Saturday or a Sunday? You want that fresh seafood. What do you do?
Bonnie: We are able to ship it to a number of areas on Saturdays as long as you don’t live in rural Idaho or some where like that. It usually can be delivered to you. Saturdays not a problem.
Although FedEx does charge an additional charge for Saturday delivery. As far as Sunday, we only guarantee the product on the day it is delivered. If you are going to hold product overnight, we can’t guarantee its freshness.
Usually, if you did do that, and you handled the seafood properly, it could make it to the next day. People will call and we do talk them through the process of what they’re going to do, how they’re going to handle it. Sometimes, they decide to take the chance and sometimes they don’t.
Katlyn: Refrigerate it to get through the night. What kind of feedback have you gotten from customers so far?
Bonnie: We have very positive feedback. We do have a hundred percent guarantee. We stand behind our product. Quality is the most important thing to us for our customers.
They love it. They love the new fried clam kit. They love being able to have a product they had when they lived here years ago. It brings back good memories.
The one thing that we’re very pleased with is we send cooking instructions with all of our products. It tells you the type of pan you need. The type of items you might need to go out and buy in order to be able to cook it. It’s step‑by‑step instructions so that we walk you right through the process. It’s pretty simple.
Katlyn: That’s great, people know what to do when that lobster arrives at their house.
Do you find that a lot of people who are ordering this seafood used to live in the Essex County area, and now have moved away and still [laughs] want their Woodmans?
Bonnie: That’s really what it seems like the brunt of our business is. It’s transplants that have moved to other parts of the country.
It’s always so fun when people call and tell us their stories about that they used to live here, and they used to come with their grandparents. It’s really heartening to talk to them and know how much they love Woodmans, and how much they appreciate what we have to offer.
Katlyn: I’m sure, definitely and how much they appreciate you sending that out. What seems to be the most popular items this summer?
Bonnie: Lobsters, lobsters, lobsters. Everybody loves lobsters in the summer. I think they just envision that red boiling, the steam coming out of the pot. That means summer to them. We have shipped out a number of fried clams, the kits for that this summer, as well. I don’t know, I guess lobsters are probably our biggest thing.
Katlyn: Lobsters, I’m sure, is a summertime tradition, especially, at Woodmans. Thank you so much for explaining this, Bonnie.
Bonnie: Thank you for having me.