There are many things that make Rob Tryon one of the Edmonton area’s most innovative food suppliers. His first seafood company, Effing Oyster (named after Vancouver Island’s Effingham Inlet) grew largely through Twitter, and he’s only expanded his social media presence since then with his new company, Effing Seafoods. There’s his adaptable, day-by-day decision process required to consistently get fresh fish this far inland.
And there’s his Fish Club delivery service, which each month brings delicious products right to customers’ doors. But if you ask him — and you should, if you want to learn anything about good seafood — he would say that what makes his business innovative, and what gives him access to some of the best seafood, is relationships. “Some of my suppliers I’ve known all my life,” he says. “The guy who processes the fish from my dad’s boat (off Vancouver Island), I grew up with. Our dads started 40 years ago together. My (Sawmill Bay Shellfish) supplier, I’ve known for 16 years. I didn’t get fish from the Maritimes, New Zealand, Iceland or Hawaii, until I got to know the fishermen personally, and to see how they work.”
It’s all to ensure the most important relationship — with the customer — stays strong. And, given most of his clientele is landlocked Albertans, he also provides them with an education, at farmers’ markets and in his St. Albert store, with the Pirate’s Den, a fish-cleaning theatre where customers watch a professional chef cut and clean whole fish through the “effing education window.” “It’s about the conversation, about the relationship. The biggest thing I love about it is people trust me, and they trust my choices.