Acme Smoked Fish Corp.
Issue Winter 10
As a fourth generation family owned and operated business, Acme Smoked Fish Corp. has built itself on a foundation of values that continues to bring success to the company in the industry. Under the leadership of the Brownstein and Caslow families, Acme stresses that it has garnered unmatched experience, and it stakes its reputation on every piece of smoked fish that leaves its Brooklyn, N.Y., smokehouse.
The company’s goal is for consumers to be proud to serve its products to their families. Gabriel Viteri, vice president of strategy and business development, points out that being a family business has been very important to Acme’s success.
“For one, it created our culture, which is rooted on the value of hard work,” he explains. “Building a lasting family enterprise means you are more likely to put in the extra hours. The family works extremely hard and that is extremely contagious.”
Also, four generations shows customers that Acme has no plans to go away any time soon. This stability, Viteri says, shows that the company is building for the future and encourages long-term relationships. “We’re building lasting relationships, loyal relationships with customers and vendors,” he states. “Many are the same for more than 30 years.
“We wouldn’t be here if the family wasn’t here,” Viteri continues. “We are who we are because of them.”
There is no one more important at Acme Smoked Fish than the customer, who Viteri says the company tends to spoil.
“They get what they want, when they want it,” he asserts. “We never leave the customer on his own.”
When Viteri talks about not leaving customers alone, he explains that Acme makes sure that customers completely understand the product they are buying. Acme will help customers understand how much to purchase, what the best ways to sell the product are and the best times during the year to sell products.
“We spend hours educating and working with our customers,” Viteri says. “We get to know them on personal levels and understand their specific needs. For instance, Saul Zabars, the owner of the famous Zabars specialty food store in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, still visits Acme’s factory every week to choose his fish and provides the company with smoking specifications.”
According to Viteri, there are two other aspects of the company that separate it from the competition.
“One that is very important is our ability to provide orders on time and anytime whether small or large,” he says. “Customers can call at 6 p.m. and we can deliver the next morning.
“Consistency of product has been a problem for many smoked salmon dealers, but we have been able to have access to the materials necessary to serve customers quality products,” Viteri adds.
The other facet that separates Acme Smoked Fish from competitors is its commitment to food safety and quality. The company says it begins by procuring the freshest, healthiest fish available. The fish are both farm-raised and wild, and the company gathers its fish nationally and globally in Alaska, Chile, Scotland, Norway and Ireland.
The company handles the fish with “scrupulous care and meticulous attention to cleanliness and safe food processing practices,” it says, noting that is has an ongoing quality assurance program.
Acme employs a full-time quality assurance team that is lead by a food scientist with expertise in food processing. Raw and finished product samples are tested throughout the production cycle to ensure nothing but the safest and most consistent quality.
Viteri notes that Acme has developed research alliances with Cornell University, University of Delaware, major ingredients suppliers and industry trade associations, which enables Acme Smoked Fish to include the latest scientific advances in its quality and safety efforts. “With Danisco, for instance, one of our major ingredient suppliers, we have developed several ingredients that have become prominent in the industry,” Viteri says. “Danisco shares our immense commitment to food safety.”
Commitment and Integrity
Acme’s business is 60 percent foodservice entities, such as appetizing stores, restaurants, bagel shops and catering companies, and 40 percent retail, which include gourmet shops, supermarkets and club stores.
Additionally, the retail products made available by Acme Smoked Fish are sold under the Acme, Blue Hill Bay and Ruby brands.
The goal of Acme is to establish itself as the premier purveyor of smoked seafood in the nation while maintaining a commitment to quality.
“In the end, we want our customers to recognize our brands and products as the premier quality standard in the industry,” Viteri stresses.
In addition, he says it is essential that while the company evolves, it remains true to its roots.
“We can’t forget where we came from,” he states. “It is important to maintain the family tradition and the integrity of the company. Over the last 60 years, New Yorkers and smoked fish enthusiasts across the nation have come to expect only the best from us, and we will continue to meet and exceed their expectations.”