Norwalk oyster farmer Norm Bloom shows state lawmakers how his business survived pandemic
Some state lawmakers got a first-hand look Tuesday at how a local member of the Connecticut shellfish industry found a way to overcome a pandemic slump.
State Sens. Bob Duff, Will Haskell, Matt Lesser and Christine Cohen met with Norm Bloom, the owner of Norm Bloom & Son Copps Island Oysters – a fourth-generation, family-owned oyster farming business that's been in Norwalk since the 1940s. Its longevity faced a serious threat when the pandemic hit and the oyster market dried up.
“What we realized when it hit was we didn't fall in the group with the take-out food,” said Bloom. “We need the bars open, we need groups together…people want somebody to shuck it there for them.”
Bloom says sales before were almost entirely with wholesalers. So he figured out new ways to reach people and make up for lost revenue, including sales directly to the public.
“We also started working with Whole Foods. We package oysters in small bags and we sell to them,” he said.
Bloom employs between 50 to 60 people and says business is now back to where it was pre-pandemic.
“I'm just really glad that they've been able to kind of reinvent themselves,” said state Sen. Bob Duff.
State Sen. Haskell said that his resolve is “even stronger to help protect the Long Island Sound and make sure generations to come continue to enjoy the amazing seafood and shellfish that this body of water has to offer.”