ContactOcean Select Seafood
David & Kim Chauvin
David Chauvin’s Seafood Company: (985) 257-1200
Bluewater: (985) 563-4801
P.O. Box 99
Chauvin, LA 70344 Bluewater P.O. Box 226 Dulac, LA 70353
Quick FactsYear founded: 2010 (David Chauvin)
# of employees in peak season: 40
# of family members working in the business: 10
Product type(s): Brown, white
headless, head-on, peeled, hand-peeled, block frozen, CO2 IQF, brine IQF
Product brand names: Mariah Jade, Chicky Lou
Ocean Select Seafood is a family-owned and operated company that brings a powerful set of values and a lot of love for what they do into every single day of work.
This seafood company was formed as a follow-up to an existing seafood company, Guidry’s Catfish, owned by the family, which largely focused on farming and raising catfish. Started in 1976 by their father, Bobby Guidry, the Guidry’s continues to grow under the leadership of Jason, Josh and Cherrie Guidry. Eventually, Ocean Select Seafood was born so they could offer more products, and the rest is history.
When Bobby first began, he dealt entirely with wild catfish. After a while, the wild catfish became too difficult to catch, leading him to work with various fish farms. Customers loved the new source of fish and its incredible flavor. At some point, he tried to switch back to the wild fish, but the customers wanted more of the farmed fish instead. Happy to meet their needs, he made the switch back to farmed fish.
Today, the family owns multiple fish farms of their own in Mississippi and Alabama, and they work with plenty of additional sources in hopes of finding the best fish at a great price. Now, their processing plants allow them to process millions of pounds of catfish and approximately 120,000 pounds of shrimp a week, which their customers are delighted about.
Running a family business is something that this company has done well for generations, with knowledge of the trades passing down from one generation to the next. Now, Louisiana Select Foods and Ocean Select Seafood are proudly owned by two brothers—but they aren’t the only relatives working there.
Aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, and more have graced the halls of this business, giving it a comfortable and welcoming feel. With years of steady growth and a 90% increase in sales in the last few years alone, it is a point of pride for the whole family. The employees are another point of pride for this growing company and are treated like family, with the owners knowing every employee’s name and their years of service to the business. Cherrie defines the values of the company as “family and dedication” before listing out the many ways that their family has pulled together throughout the years.
Even when faced with exponential growth and success, this is the same family-owned business that first started growing all those years ago. As children, the current owners and their relatives were all expected to pitch in to help the business along. Jason and Josh would work at their father’s seafood business after school and during the summer to make sure that everything was moving along.
Learning from their father, a man who used to hang catfish on an old oak tree and skin the catfish by hand using pliers back before they had processing machines to handle the job for him, gave them extensive knowledge regarding how to create the best seafood products and run the business well.
For years, they carried on his legacy in every way. The family pulled together in different ways, whether it was lending money, pitching in to run the machines—or their late Grandmother who was all too happy to manage the counter. “Family is in everything we do,” Jason says.
While many businesses start out as family-owned and operated, it tends to only last beyond a certain threshold. Despite their business success, which has improved substantially since 2011 thanks to the decision to invest in a bagging system, the entire family has continued to be involved. Too often, family-owned businesses end up being run by other people with the original owners taking a step back—but that isn’t in the cards for Ocean Select Seafood. The owners and their relatives continue to pitch in wherever they are needed to ensure that everything gets done.
Answering phones, making calls, driving products, and helping with fillets are all a part of the business, and if a department is ever running short, the owners are happy to step in and fill the role themselves.
Their commitment to family, as well as their values that drive them to make a wonderful workplace, have encouraged their business to be kept in the hands of the people who know it best. Every new employee becomes a member of the family, with some employees touting over 40 proud years of service. Plenty of their employees have been there through the growth and expansion, with new business offerings, new machinery, and new facilities.
When asked what they offer their customers that the other competitors don’t, these owners say it all comes down to “adding value.”
After years of running their business, their growth plan really comes down to adding value in any way that they can. When disaster struck with Hurricane Katrina and recently with other storms like Ida and Laura, this dedicated family saw a gap in their industry. Sadly, countless other companies lost products and entire businesses to the destruction of Katrina. For Ocean Select Seafood, there were some shipping delays, but something incredibly fortunate happened too. People needed seafood, and this team was able to step up and fill in the gaps with long days and plenty of strenuous work.
It is their willingness to strive for greatness against all odds that has helped them to craft a legacy that will be the pride of their family for generations.
For Ocean Select Seafood, adding value is all about serving the needs of the individual and continuing to make their products better. By working with their own farms, as well as other distributors, this talented team is able to add value to existing seafood products in a variety of different ways.
In some instances, they improve accessibility to fish and shrimp products by simply packaging them in a way that helps to suit the needs of the individual. This might mean taking a 5-pound chunk of frozen shrimp and repackaging it in small and easy-to-store packages or simply breaking large amounts of fish into medium-sized packs that work better for restaurants.
Their decision to move in this direction has given their business an obvious boost, but it also empowered them to enter the market in a new way. After receiving their BRC certification with both seafood businesses, they were able to enter huge new markets. Now, their shrimp and seafood offerings are sold at countless grocery stores including Albertsons, Walmart, and Safeway. In 2020, Ocean Select Seafood went through an extensive application process to be selected as one of five shrimp processors in the first-ever shrimp commodity purchase by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a collaborative response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The USDA purchased $25.14 million in wild-caught domestic shrimp, providing 6.37 million pounds of shrimp to food banks in 49 states and territories to feed those communities in the greatest need at the height of the pandemic.
A group this committed to success could never simply stop at packaging and selling, which is why they have so much else to offer their customers as well. In addition to their current offerings, they recently began adding extra flavor value by taking their premium shrimp and adding their very own batter to it. The result is a special breading that is not too doughy and just crunchy enough to make for a satisfying bite every time.
When discussing their food and what they offer, a chorus rang out in the room. “It’s just good,” they all agree, laughing with big smiles on their face.
A once small family-owned business has grown into two—and the Ocean Select Seafood family has big plans to continue to grow with time by reinvesting in their business, their equipment, their products, and their people.