FOLEY – Foley Fish Company, Baldwin County’s longest operating fresh seafood market, was founded in downtown Foley in 1921 by John Hesse. Today it’s owned by Tracy Ward, who purchased the company in 1999 from the second owners, Eddie and Peggy Hesse.
“The name and location haven’t changed. Over the years I have added more merchandise, more fresh seafood options, dips, homemade gumbos, etouffee, shrimp bisque and much more,” said Ward.
While the product offerings of the well-known Foley business have changed since its opening a century ago, its name, appearance and hometown feel have stayed the same. It has always operated in the same location directly on Alabama 59 in downtown Foley at 321 South McKenzie St. “Nationally, small businesses account for 48% of all American jobs and contribute 43.5% of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP),” said Darreyln Dunmore, executive director of Foley Main Street Inc. “The enthusiasm and work ethic of Tracy and her family reflect that of small businesses not only in downtown Foley but nationwide.”
“We are still a family-owned business,” Ward said. She and her two sons, Ryan and Cory Mistrot, are involved daily in the operations, along with her husband, Steve Ward.
On Dec. 1, 2021, the company held a special celebration in honor of its 100th year in business, inviting customers and the community to enjoy live entertainment as well as hot gumbo and a shrimp boil.
One customer posted, “Congratulations on the 100th year in Foley!! I love you guys and always get great service and food when I’m there!”
In an in-store presentation today, the Alabama Retail Association presented Foley Fish Company with an Alabama Centennial Retailer award. The business received a bronze plaque to place outside its store and a framed certificate for display inside.
Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown said, “For a business to survive the dramatic changes of the past century is a remarkable achievement. It is fitting to celebrate the enduring first-century contributions Foley Fish Company has made to Foley, the surrounding communities and visitors to the Gulf Coast.”
The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Through sales of food, clothing, furniture, medicine and more, our 4,300 independent merchant and national company members touch almost every aspect of daily living. Since 1943, we’ve worked to promote what’s best for the retail industry in Alabama. Whether voicing the retail view when public policy is made, educating members about issues that impact them, negotiating rates for benefits and services or communicating the retail story, the Alabama Retail Association and its members are better together.