From coworker to co-owner, Pike Place Fish Market sold to one of its own
SEATTLE – After more than five decades, the world-famous Pike Place Fish Market is now under new ownership.
Sam Samson has worked at the famous fish market his entire adult life. Since 1986, to be exact. Now, he’s going from coworker to co-owner.
“It would be awful to sell it to someone who’s just an outside investor, for bigger money, and just have the business go down,” Samson said.
“We look at it more than a job, it’s our family, it’s our life,” he added.
Samson says that respect and happiness, not just selling salmon, made this place grow into what it is today.
But, he says it wasn’t always like it is now. The former owner, John Yokoyama, had an old school, tough-love attitude, but around the time Samson started here, his boss had a change of heart.
And what was sure to be a lucrative sale of this tourist hot spot has stayed in the ‘family.’
Yokoyama could have named any price he wanted, but “he picked the guys that are going to have his legacy live on,” Samson said.
Now, Samson and three other of his long time coworkers are now co-owners, instead of employees.
“My job now is to nurture the young ones coming in, to show ‘em,” Samson said.
Rather than mingling with tourists and packing up seafood, Samson now finds himself in this closet of an office following the footsteps of his predecessor.
And in his new role, there’s only one thing he wants to change, in addition to being world famous for throwing fish, that is. He wants to be known for spreading kindness to his employees and customers.
“You love your employees and they love you back,” he said. “And that’s the movement I want to see the whole world come to. That’s my goal.”