LITTLETON — Mark Beickert lives in Currituck, “Over here on the coast straight down 158 about 30 miles from the Outer Banks.”
Mark said he noticed Littleton was without seafood.
“I said, ‘Shoot, let’s bring a little seafood here,” he said. “A lot of my friends are crabbers or fishers.”
Ship to Shore Seafood was opened by Mark and his wife, Sandra, on Father’s Day. Mark calls his orders to the fisheries and he picks them up every Thursday. With the exception of the scallops and rockfish, when it is not in season, everything is local and fresh, he said.
“That is something we pride ourselves on,” he said. “Everything comes from Northeastern, North Carolina. We are right here where all the trawler boats come in. A lot of times I watch them filet the fish as I am waiting.”
He brings one Littleton customer grouper fillets. They also sell live blue crabs out of the Albemarle Sound. With an expansive list, some of the other offerings include shrimp, oysters shelled or shucked, filleted flounder, trout, rockfish, whole spot and whole white perch. While some folks enjoy cooking with whole fish, Mark said a few of their customers buy it for religious reasons.
Nine years ago, Mark said he joined a hunting club in Littleton.
“And I fell in love with the place,” he said.
He said he knew of a couple of seafood places in Littleton that had closed down, the most recent being Kaptain K’s Seafood Market. Mark saw an opportunity.
“We used to shell shrimp and stuff as kids beside the road hustling out of tents and coolers,” he said. “We said, ‘Let’s buy a building and see if it works.”
They purchased a building at 104 West South Main St.
“And we said, ‘Shoot, we’re going to try to sell some seafood,” Mark said. “We’ve been selling it outside, under tents and in coolers, until we fix it and paint it up.”
Mark said the building was originally built in 1931.
“Mr. Skinner, a real estate lawyer, he knows the name of the old service station,” Mark said.
William T. Skinner IV is a general practice attorney in Littleton, in his 33rd year at his firm. And Mark is right, Skinner knows a little about history, as he is the eighth generation there in Littleton, and has lived there all of his life, with the exception of his college years, Skinner said.
“The Town of Littleton is named for my five times great-grandfather, William Person Little,” he said. “The building used to be an old gas station, you would have to go back into Warren County into some deeds. It used to be the county line and that part was in Warren County.”
Skinner said he collects old road maps.
“I want to say it was a Pure Oil station at one time and when they widened the road it pretty much obliterated that gas station, because it cut the lot down into such a small size,” he said. “Those columns that go up, that architectural style is of an old gas station.”
Of Beickert’s seafood, Skinner said it is “some mighty good seafood. They bring up the biggest flounders you have ever seen — I mean they are huge. The scallops are nice and huge shrimp. They source it from down in Wanchese and out of Currituck County. They bring it up here refrigerated, not frozen. Refrigeration keeps the taste better.”
Like Skinner, Mark said sometimes he hears some of the customers say the fish is great, some even saying it is the best fish they have ever had in their lives.
“So many people yell out the car windows, beeping and hollering, ‘The fish was great,’ ” Mark said. “Everyone is loving the seafood.”
Mark said since they started selling seafood, the town has really opened up to them.
“This town has called us here and when we were looking for a building, the owner wanted me to have it,” Mark said. “He said you are going to do good things here and we want you to have it. The people of Littleton have changed our lives. They have opened their arms and have welcomed us in, like they have known us all our lives. “
Ship to Shore Seafood is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and until it is sold out on Sunday.
“If you want to try good fresh seafood, come get you some,” Mark said. “That is my saying, I yell it at people going down the road.”
Folks are encouraged to call in orders and take advantage of home delivery. For more information, call 252-339-0927.