Bubba Gandy Puts the “Sea” in Middle Tennes“sea”e

The Gandy family seafood legacy began when a farmer and truck driver named Melvin Gandy moved to Panama City from Thomasville, Georgia, in 1948. In 1955 he opened a fish market with his sons Kenyon and Buddy. The business soon expanded to include a fish-cleaning operation that serviced the St. Andrews party boat business.

After a move to Treasure Island Marina in 1957, the Gandyâ€TMs obtained exclusive rights for bait and the buying, selling, and cleaning of fish. At this point, theyâ€TMd made their name in the fish business, but the Gandyâ€TMs didnâ€TMt stop there. In 1962 they built a fish house on the St. Andrews Marina and, between 1955 and 1966, the Gandyâ€TMsâ€TM gross income exploded from $39,000 to $410,000.

Charles Gandy and his wife, Chantal, expanded the familyâ€TMs love of seafood into a restaurant venture in 2009. Gandyâ€TMs Oyster Bar and Seafood Restaurant was a big success, but after three years, the Gandyâ€TMs were thinking bigger, creating Gandyâ€TMs Mobile Seafood Market and selling seafood all over Alabama and Tennessee. Finding demand outstripping their business model, they expanded yet again, selling wholesale to restaurants, groceries, and produce markets under the name of Gandy Seafood Co.

Gandy offers a number of crab, shrimp, oyster, and scallop varieties and products, along with a lengthy list of available fish. In addition to their famous seafood, the company also sells a selection of Gulf Coast specialties. Their Cajun Favorites line includes authentic Cajun classics like gumbo and crawfish pies, boudin and andouille sausages, and a variety of stuffed chickens, alligator tail meat, and frog legs.

While the Gandy family has been gracing the landlocked portion of the Southeast with its seafood for generations, Middle Tennessee will soon play host to their most ambitious retail project yet: Bubba Gandy Seafood Market & Steamery.

“Itâ€TMll be probably one of the biggest seafood markets from Memphis to Knoxville, probably the biggest in the state,” explains Charles Gandy. “Weâ€TMll combine showcases to have about fifty foot of seafood showcase.” Of course, itâ€TMs what will be in that showcase that most interests Middle Tennesseans craving the fruits of the sea, and Bubba Gandy is aiming to please.

“Weâ€TMre trying to be a one- stop shop for everything seafood,” says Charles Gandy. As the name implies, Bubba Gandy will be one part fish market and one part eatery. The market will carry Gandy family--favorite fish selections from the Gulf of Mexico, but will also include options from the Northwest to the Great Lakes and the Northeast. In addition, the mussels, clams, crabs, shrimp, oysters, and other in-the-shell delicacies at Bubba Gandyâ€TMs can be picked out at the market and handed over to the Steamery for immediate consumption.

“Weâ€TMre moving an entire oyster shop up from Florida just to manage the oysters,” says Charles Gandy. “Theyâ€TMll make sure the steaming and the shucking are done just the way we like it.” The Steamery will also offer prepared plates, like baked oysters, and hopes to hold tasting events that pair their fare with local beers and wines.

While Bubba Gandy will surely draw attention for its sheer size and vast selection, theyâ€TMll keep customers coming back with their commitment to sustainable, responsible harvesting of their seafood. With the exception of an organic, farm-raised salmon, the fish at Bubba Gandy will be all -natural and wild -caught.

“We get our stuff from fishermen my family has been working with for the last 20 years,” says Charles Gandy. “They bring us the best stuff out there.” Clearly, heâ€TMs hooked. And heâ€TMs guessing that Middle Tennessee will be as well.

Bubba Gandy Seafood Market & Steamery is set to open July 1 in Franklin at 430 Cool Springs Boulevard, Suite 120. See www. bubbagandyseafood.com for complete information.