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Cindy Tarvin heads to the outdoor coolers at Tarvin Seafood.

Tarvin Seafood

Shrimp season is underway, and a new retail operation on Shem Creek is helping local eaters partake of the harvest.

Tarvin Seafood, home to the 47-year-old Miss Paula trawler, last October relocated to the old Wando Shrimp Company warehouse from the Geechie Dock, where direct-to-customer sales weren’t permitted. The move came with a walk-in freezer, which the Tarvin family used to cultivate restaurant business.

“As we get to know each restaurant customer, we find out what product they like best, and we try to get it for them, even in the season when we are not catching their preferred size,” Cindy Tarvin explains. “So right now we will freeze large shrimp for the summer, when only the small brown shrimp are plentiful.”

Now, the Tarvins are restoring retail to the Wando Dock. Two years ago, a longstanding fish market in the same space was suspended when its manager retired.

“We are operating in a more limited fashion, selling only shrimp,” says Tarvin, adding that boat crews will be permitted to independently sell their bycatch, such as squid and whiting. “We are trying to have information about the boats, shrimping, recipes, et cetera, but we are still a work in progress.”

Already up in the store is a wall map that allows the Tarvins to show customers where the boats travel, and which restaurants sell their catch.

In addition to the all-important walk-in freezer, Tarvin Seafood has also purchased a freezer boat “to fill in the gaps when fresh or block frozen shrimp is not around.” The plan calls for the Carolina Breeze to trail trawlers from North Carolina to Florida, collecting surplus shrimp.

The Tarvin Seafood store at 102 Haddrell St. is open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. For more information, call or text 843-324-5281, or visit

Hanna Raskin