BILLINGS — Finding fresh, quality seafood in a landlocked state like Montana can oftentimes be difficult.
But one Alaskan man decided to make it his mission to bring wild-caught seafood to Montana.
Jon Wanderaas was born and raised fishing in Alaska. He came to Montana for school and to be closer to his dad.
Wanderaas says that he had worked in the seafood industry since he was 14, and had notebooks full of business ideas from when he was younger.
About 4 years ago, Jon decided to start his own business here in Billings to bring quality, fresh-caught seafood to a town that was lacking in that department.
For the past 3 1/2 years, the business was known as Billings Seafood Guys but changed its name earlier this year to Alaskan Seafood Guys.
Wanderaas says that many in town still know them as Billings Seafood Guys, but they made the change due to demand all over Montana and Wyoming.
The business started by selling and delivering fresh, wild-caught seafood in the Billings area.
Now, they have made some creative changes to their business model.
Wanderaas explains that there are so many people that love seafood but don't know how to cook it so they settle for only having it at restaurants.
“We saw that we needed to do something a little different, we needed to bring more value to our customers, and we had to make things a little easier. When it comes to seafood, it can be very cool to people, but a lot of the time, it’s a little intimidating," explains Wanderaas. "Not everyone knows how to cook it or how to prepare it. And you get excited, you buy it, and it sits in your freezer forever.”
In light of this, Alaskan Seafood Guys decided to start offering meal kits to reach a broader market.
The meal kits vary from items like lobster mac and cheese, lobster rolls, and shrimp alfredo. All the customer has to do is put the kit in the oven.
Boil kits are also offered, and take less time to cook than the standard meal kits.
“We package all this stuff together in a red boil bag. All of the boil kits on top of the seafood come with corn, Andouille sausage, baby potatoes, and the seasoning," says Wanderaas. "So all you have to do is boil your water, dump your seasoning in, and it only takes about 8 minutes."
Alaskan Seafood Guys also offer a variety of boil butters, seasonings, and individual frozen seafood items.
Every Sunday, Alaskan Seafood Guys invite the public to their showroom to taste their products and learn about their benefits.
Wanderaas says that seafood is a superfood, and is a great addition to people's diets.
While it can be difficult to find wild-caught seafood here in Montana, Alaskan Seafood Guys can help make at-home seafood dining easy.
“If you’re someone who enjoys seafood, but you are intimidated by cooking it, try one of these kits," Wanderaas says. "Because that’s exactly what we’re doing this for, for someone that’s looking to have that experience."
For more information on Alaskan Seafood Guys, please click here or visit their showroom at 3201 Hesper Road in Billings.