Multop’s Featured Client: Steve Seymour – Oyster Farmer & Restaurateur

Steve Seymour-Drayton Harbor Oyster Company Picture

Steve Seymour is one of those few fortunate souls who has managed to spend his life doing exactly what he enjoys. His love for the sea led him to leave sunny Southern California in his 20s and relocate to wetter Northern California in order to pursue Fisheries Biology. And in the 1980s, he became involved with oyster farming in Drayton Harbour in Blaine, Washington where he hoped one day he would have a family-run oyster farm. 

Drayton Harbor, WA Oyster Farming
Oyster Farm, Drayton Harbor, Blaine, WA

Off To A Rough Start

In Blaine, Steve started working with a Canadian company called Neptune Aqua Farms, which had an oyster operation in Drayton Harbor. After Neptune A.F. decided to close down, Steve Seymour and Geoff Menzies, another local who had been working there, bought out Neptune’s oyster operation. Unfortunately, just as their first oyster harvest was about ready to sell, the Washington State Department of Health declared a large part of the harbor off-limits to shellfish harvesting due to high pollution levels. As a result, in 1999, when the entire bay became too polluted and was shut for harvesting entirely, Steve took on a position at the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Cleaning Up Our Act

In the meantime, Geoff Menzies teamed up with the Puget Sound Restoration Fund and worked hard for years to solve the pollution issues and clean up the harbor. Steve Seymour believes that Menzies is a hero for dedicating so much effort to cleaning up the harbor. He explained that “Clean water is something we all need, deserve, and enjoy, and we are as proud as we are passionate to highlight that need in Drayton Harbor, showing our gratitude for all of the efforts across our Watershed.” 

It’s Never Too Late For A The Dream To Become A Reality

In 2013, when Steve Seymour retired from the Department of Fish and Wildlife and his son Mark moved back to Blaine, after receiving his degree in Fisheries Biology, they decided to take over Geoff Menzies’ oyster harvesting lease. This was the successful beginning/comeback of the Drayton Harbor Oyster Company (DHO) and the realization of Steve’s dream of building a family-run oyster business.

Today, at DHO, three generations of Seymours are working hard but having fun at the same time because they love their work and those they work with. Their oyster harvest is sold to restaurants and markets from Blaine to Seattle. Steve’s grandson, Eric Johnson, has become involved with the business by selling oysters at the Bellingham Farmers Market and doing promotional work. And their tiny oyster bar (or “The Shop” as they refer to it) in Blaine has become so popular that it attracts oyster lovers from British Columbia, Canada to Oregon. In fact, this family-owned business has been so successful that it has more than doubled its sales every year since it’s been open. Steve Seymour is proud to have been able to invest in Blaine and support other local businesses in building a burgeoning beautiful downtown core.

The Secret Of His Success

Drayton Harbor Oyster Company Oyster Bar
Drayton Harbor Oyster Company Oyster Bar

For Steve Seymour and his family, the Drayton Harbor Oyster Company is not just a business venture, it is a way of life. They feel that the safety and well-being of their employees and customers is their number one priority and concern, in the restaurant and on the farm. Their customers immediately recognize their passion for what they do and feel welcomed and comfortable as they indulge in some of the freshest highest quality “oys” you can get anywhere in the world.

Steve and Mark may have become successful oyster farmers and business owners but they still consider themselves Fisheries Biologists first! They believe that one of the secrets to their success is their scientific knowledge and experience evaluating science-based facts. They say that “When we’re not shuckin’, farming, or building, we’ve got our noses in the books, articles, and advances in the industry. For fun, we like to help out our friends in government and academia collect their water quality data too.”

Multop Financial has had the privilege of serving Steve Seymour and his wife Judith since 2012. Not only are they valued financial planning clients but they are also true friends to the firm and greatly respected members of their community.