For years, TJ Jones has tried to convince his friend and former Chattanooga resident, Jeff Simmons, to open a store similar to one of his Ohio-based Seafood Station stores in southeast Tennessee.
But it was not to be.
As Simmons nears retirement and seeks to turn his business over to his family, Jones has realized that he would only have to open a similar establishment on his own.
Jones had owned and operated Mr. T’s pizza and ice cream at Red Bank for several years before entering the automated machine business for several decades. He got bored of the trip and began to consider opening another place for him, and the concept of seafood won him over.
Chattanooga Seafood Co. will open at the former Sofa King Juicy Burger location near the intersection of Dayton Pike and Signal Mountain Boulevard in late January or early February, Jones said. Sofa King closed in early 2021 and will not reopen.
Jones said he received plenty of advice from Simmons and expects his friend to spend several weeks here after the store opens, offering even more tips and advice.
âHe’s been doing it for almost 25 years in Loveland, Ohio, near Cincinnati and has a lot of competition, but he’s been successful,â Jones said. “I would say the most important thing he told me is to maximize your product. Make sure you get the best you can, but also maximize what you have on hand. Eliminate the waste.”
To that end, Jones said the 2,000 square foot Chattanooga Seafood will take inspiration from Simmons’ boutique and feature expected items such as fish and shellfish, but also soups, quiches, salads, dips. , spreads and prepared broths, as well as take out items.
He is particularly excited about the location and its proximity to North Chattanooga, Red Bank, and Highway 27.
âYou can come out of the 27 and be there and then come back to it once you’re gone,â he said. “Chattanooga doesn’t have that type of market and with the influx of people we think the time is right.”
He plans to employ four more people than himself at the store and will likely open from noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, but that could change based on demand once it opens. COVID-19 and supply chain issues will also be considered when it opens and the products it will carry at any given time, but it said it has secured the services of several vendors to his product.
Contact Barry Courter at [email protected] or 423-757-6354.