Since 1973, Swanson’s Fish Market has provided fresh seafood dishes to Fairfield, Connecticut residents. The store’s current owner, Gary Swanson Jr., inherited the booming business from his father, “Gerry,” Swanson, who had founded the company shortly after he arrived in America from Sweden. Historically, the regular customers were loyal, and Swanson’s maintained their stellar reputation – it appeared Swanson’s Fish Market was a permanent Fairfield staple. However, before appearing on The Profit, the business had fallen on hard times due to a fire that had caused them to lose everything, including the building itself.
In an attempt to revive his business, Gary Swanson Jr. accrued nearly $1million in debt to reopen the doors. With rising debts and equally rising family tensions, Swanson’s Fish Market was on the verge of closing its doors permanently.
The Swanson Family turned to The Profit to help save the floundering family business.
Swanson’s Fish Market on The Profit
The Profit Season 2 Episode 11
Marcus’ first visit to Swanson’s Fish Market was telling. While he noted that the business was in a prime location with the opportunity for lots of foot traffic and that the quality of their fish was clearly top-notch, the company was failing in some key areas. The store was sold out of some of their most popular products, which, of course, was losing the business money – even the most loyal customers will find somewhere else to get their products for the sake of convenience. Additionally, Marcus learned that not only were the employees severely behind on their paychecks, but they were also spending the money they did receive on keeping the business open, often using their own funds to purchase inventory for the store.
When Marcus met Gary, he complimented him on the prime location and beautiful building. Gary revealed that he was the actual owner of the building. He noted that the mortgage on the building was just shy of four thousand dollars. Gary rented space to two other businesses in the building and charged rent that more than covered the mortgage payment. While this should have been a lucrative position for Gary to be in, this money was mismanaged, and Gary was struggling to pay the bank on time.
Gary tells Marcus that Swanson’s Fish Market brought in roughly $150,000 a month from the sale of fresh and prepared foods and that the business should be turning a profit of approximately $50,000 per month. Marcus was confused about how the company was still struggling. However, when speaking with the rest of the family, Marcus heard another side of the story. They had debt in every direction Marcus looked. Gary couldn’t keep up with vendor bills. He admitted to taking deposit money to pay personal bills. Susan’s car was paid for with company funds. With cash being grossly mismanaged in every aspect of the business, the company was losing thousands upon thousands of dollars every month.
Marcus got to work figuring out how he could pull the Swanson’s family business out of the water. He offered Gary $1million to buy their building. The building purchase would allow the family to own 100% of the company while giving them ample funding to pay off their debts and give them some working capital. However, the $1million would go into an escrow account, and he wanted attorneys to be involved in making sure everything was clear before he wrote Gary a check. Additionally, any cash would go to banks and vendors first before Gary could get any capital out of it.
Marcus had several suggestions for Gary on how to better operate Swanson’s Fish Market and various ways the family could increase their profits. He suggested adding more prepared foods, as it would be a tremendous benefit to the business. Not only is it easy for customers, but the profit margin is double that of the fresh fish. (A quick conversation with some of the customers validated this suggestion as well!) He also suggested capitalizing on the loyal customers’ love of Swanson’s prepared foods and pushed Gary to open a restaurant in another area of the building.
Marcus provided Swanson’s Fish Market with new equipment, refrigerators, and a produce section to the storefront, as well as provided samples from the new prepared foods menu to customers. The excitement was building, and it seemed that everything was heading towards success.
Unfortunately, that’s where Swanson’s luck ended. Upon Marcus’ next visit to the store to see how the company was handling the changes, he had a disagreement with Susan. This disagreement prompted Marcus to take a look into the building’s records, where he found that the building was in active foreclosure. Unsurprisingly, he immediately backed out of the deal.
Swanson’s Fish Market Goes Belly Up After The Profit
After the show, Larissa, Gary’s daughter, took to the company’s website to post a rant about the television show process. The family accused Marcus and the show of editing to purposefully make the business look bad. Included in her rant was a screenshot of text messages between her and Marcus where she informed him of the foreclosure before he supposedly found out about it in the show. The website where this was is no longer available.
Reportedly, Swanson’s Fish Market kept the equipment Marcus purchased on their behalf. When they were still in business, they continued to sell about equal amounts of fresh fish and prepared foods. So even without having the deal with Marcus, they continued to run business using the plan he gave them.
Unfortunately, after 45 years of being in business, Swanson’s Fish Market closed on New Year’s Eve, 2018. Gary says he closed the company to retire. In its place is a new local deli.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is strictly informational; INSIGNIA SEO is not affiliated with Swanson’s Fish Market, The Profit, or any of their subsidiaries.