A HERITAGE OF QUALITY SINCE 1926
Biloxi Shrimp Co. was founded in June 2020 by Mark Mavar and Jonathan McLendon, owners of merged commercial shrimp processing companies Biloxi Freezing & Processing, Inc. and M&M Shrimp Company LLC.
These two successful businessmen, whose commercial business tag line is “The Coolest Guys in Town,” were both born and raised in Biloxi, Mississippi “seafood capital of the world,” where they grew up in their respective families’ shrimp and seafood businesses with a natural love for their city, their Gulf Coast and their family heritage.
More of the history is detailed below, but in short, they built one of the largest and most modern shrimp processing facilities in the entire Gulf, serving both the restaurant/foodservice industry and retail stores. When the pandemic arrived in spring of 2020, they found their freezers full of product that would have otherwise been shipped to the shuttered restaurant industry. Naturally, with shrimp season set to begin soon, they needed a different sales channel to make room in their freezers for the new crop of shrimp soon to arrive at their docks.
Through the power of social media and an initial online page, they found surprising demand from the public, many of whom would sit in line in their cars and trucks for hours, ice chests ready to pick up large quantities of these amazing wild-caught Gulf shrimp typically sold to fine restaurants. Some would arrive with several ice chests. One even heard from a friend in Biloxi and made a pit stop in his private plane on a business trip to pick up four large marine coolers full to take back home to Tennessee. Word soon spread about the great restaurant quality and the “close to wholesale pricing,” and all of a sudden a direct sales business was born.
Naturally, their entrepreneurial minds turned to the idea of providing these beautiful shrimp to the greater public in the rest of the U.S.A. By combining their efficient, clean processing with their shipping and packaging relationships from the wholesale business, they have achieved the amazing result of being able to offer these shrimp to the public at extremely competitive prices even when shipping is factored in. Now the whole country can enjoy the secret that Biloxians and fine restaurants have been keeping!
THE REST OF THE STORY: OUR WHOLESALE COMPANY HISTORY
As background, the wholesale side of the business, Biloxi Freezing & Processing, Inc., was founded in 1995 with a focus on providing value by processing shrimp for other seafood processors, and expanding the company into the public cold storage business. In time, our business relationship with our largest customer, M&M Shrimp Company, transitioned into a friendship between the Mavar & Suarez/McLendon Families.
In 2006, BF&P and M&M Shrimp Company merged to create a better infrastructure for both companies, creating a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Since the union of the two companies, we continue to grow at a rapid rate. Our third-generation President, Mark Mavar and Vice President, Jonathan McLendon embody a new generation of cutting-edge shrimp processors, who are constantly creating efficiencies to move our business forward. With a 20,000 square foot processing facility, we have pioneered the use of optical laser sorting machines in the U.S. shrimp industry, and have worked with suppliers to make all processes faster and more efficient. Over the past 10 years our company has tripled production, and we project an additional 25% increase over the next five years.
We believe that great things happened when we joined forces with M&M Processing. The seafood legacies provided by the Suarez/McLendon and Mavar families guide our success; and with a lineage beginning in 1926, we continue to move large volumes of high-quality, wild-caught domestic shrimp.
THE MAVAR HERITAGE - 1898
The Mavar seafood legacy began when John, Mark’s grandfather, emigrated to Biloxi from Croatia in 1898 and later became a deckhand on schooners, while his wife, Olivia Skrmetta, ran a grocery store. By 1926, he owned his own boat, was an experienced commercial fisherman and had saved enough money to buy a small piece of property on the beach to unload boats. This eventually led to the successful entrepreneurial venture of Mavar Shrimp & Oyster Company. Victor, Mark’s father, followed the family footsteps and ventured into the business with his brothers. Years later, the heritage of the Mavar family still lives on through Mark and a company rooted in passion and honesty for a quality product.
The Suarez/McLendon Heritage - 1927
Jonathan’s roots go back to his great grandfather, Joseph Suarez, who opened Suarez Seafood in 1927 at 408 Lee Street in Biloxi. The retail market offered oysters, crabs, fish and shrimp, and back then there was a lot of bartering, such as an exchange of flour or milk for fresh fish. Although the original building is no longer standing due to Hurricane Katrina, the property is located around the corner from Biloxi Freezing.