CRANBERRY TWP — Cranberry Township is about 380 miles from the nearest ocean.
But the Dock to Table location that opened Oct. 7 in Oak Tree Place plaza along Route 19 makes it seem a lot closer.
“We always wanted to be in Cranberry,” said Jared King, manager of the fresh seafood store. “All the numbers say that we need to be here.”
Dock to Table's origin story may sound like a fish tale to some customers, but it's not. Since December 2019 — at the start of the worldwide pandemic — the seafood company has opened two locations.
The first is in Bridgeport, W.Va. The second is in Cranberry Township.
Dock to Table hasn't just opened new stores during the pandemic. It also has expanded them.
The Bridgeport location, for instance, now includes an estimated 1,500 square feet in additional property. King said the “much needed space” is being used for processing.
King said while the pandemic has challenged the company in some ways, it's also laid a unique set of circumstances for those in the fresh fish market.
“It provided an opportunity,” King said. “A lot more people were cooking from home.”
Dock to Table wants to be known for quality and freshness, according to King.
King said seafood and fish are hand-selected weekly from a fresh fish market in Baltimore. Dock to Table employees then cut and prepare packages to sell in stores.
Everything is “source transparent,” according to King. This means Dock to Table workers are able to tell customers how long ago the organic Irish salmon or Gulf Coast shrimp were swimming in the sea.
Sharing that information as well as cooking instructions and recipes is a big part of Dock to Table's service, King said.
“Seafood ... scares some people,” King said. “The best thing for us is talking (them) through that process.”
Dock to Table in Cranberry also sells six varieties of sandwiches and salads using the seafood it has in stock.
After all, part of what Dock to Table aims to do is to bring restaurant-quality fish to the family kitchen table.
“(It's) being able to have that access,” King said.
Dock to Table is continuing to look for properties that could be used for future store locations, according to King.
The company is staying flexible to accommodate pandemic precautions, such as offering curbside delivery. Dock to Table is striving to stay as accessible as possible, even in the most challenging times.
“We believe in our products,” King said. “We found a sweet spot here.”