Dave’s Gourmet Albacore
Dave and Crista Greenberger – Scaling New Heights in Business
By Kirsten Fairchilds
Dave and Crista Greenberger enjoy eating fish every day.
Given that the couple regularly logs seven-day workweeks as owners of Dave’s Gourmet Albacore, it might be safe to assume that the husband-and-wife team would have reached its limit at some point over the years. But decades worth of catching, canning and selling fish has not dented the pair’s love of eating fish in the slightest.
Lucky for them, and their customers, the Greenbergers are dedicated to providing a product that comes from the highest quality of fish caught in the waters off Washington, Canada and Alaska from “hook and line,” which they say is one of the most ecologically responsible methods available to harvest salmon and albacore.
“I believe that all of the benefits that come from eating fish outweigh any risks,” Crista says. “Where we get our fish from has some of the most pristine waters in our ocean. The U.S. is so careful in making sure our Pacific Ocean is clean. We work with 12 to 15 boats; these are fishermen that Dave has fished with throughout his whole career.”
In 1990, the couple began fishing together, which Crista refers to as “the greatest adventure of my life.” But by 1995, their business had grown too large for them to be gone for months at a time.
They bought their own cannery in Kirkland, Wash., and became vendors at the farmers markets in Aptos and Salinas in 1999. In 2000, Dave’s Gourmet Albacore moved into its present facility, a 10,000-square-foot space on Coral Street across from Costco. In 2002, the Greenbergers brought their canning operations in-house. The retail store was expanded into a café in 2009.
“Today, the business for me is the closest thing to commercial fishing,” Dave says. “We still get to deal with what we learned how to do and we still get to use our brains. We can be entrepreneurs. We can diversify. If it’s not doing garlic tuna to making albacore fish and chips, we’re making salmon patties and playing with colors and labels.”
Adds Crista, “It was Dave’s decision to have the café. The closure of the local salmon season had a huge impact on our business. We’re not getting salmon for $2-3 a pound anymore. Now, it’s costing $10 a pound. We decided to bring more business in by offering food. It’s worked out really well.”
When at the café, Dave’s favorite meal is the tuna burrito while Crista has culled selected products from her fellow Aptos market vendors to make what she calls a “kitchen quinoa.”
“I’ve been on a tuna kick for the past few months,” Crista said. “I steam quinoa in the rice cooker and add our tuna, chopped spinach (from A. Nagamine Nursery, Inc.), the sundried tomato, roasted garlic and fresh basil topping (from Zena Foods), basil pesto (from Pensi Pasta Co.) and chopped red bell peppers.
“I like to eat healthy, and this market has the best of the best.”
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