Inland Seafood Now Employee-Owned

ATLANTA — The shareholders of Inland Fresh Seafood Corporation (Inland Seafood), are pleased to announce to the public that the company has recently been sold to its employees. It is now a 100% employee-owned company through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

In the past few years, there has been a great consolidation in the independent seafood and meat industries; and in the perishable food distribution sector in general. Inland Seafood has been of great interest to many companies, both private and public, and it has only intensified in the last couple of years. There have been various rumors that Inland was being sold, or had been sold, to one of these companies.

“While this attention was very flattering to us,” said Joel Knox, Founder & CEO, “It was disturbing to many of our employees. William Demmond, COO and Chris Rosenberger, President, and I, took a look at the food industry and economic landscape, and then we thought long and hard about the best future for our employees and ourselves. Inland has a dedicated workforce who had helped build the company over the last 40 years and we are always recruiting the best and the brightest in the industry. Many of these people are in their late 20’s to late 40’s and have spent 5-15 years or more helping us grow the various businesses. Instead of cashing out to the highest bidder, Bill, Chris and I decided to empower these employees by making them the new owners of Inland Seafood.”

“We feel there is so much left to accomplish and that this is the perfect succession plan,” said Knox. “Bill & I will still be here for the next few years and Chris Rosenberger will run the company along with the talented, hard working employees and managers we have gathered around us. We feel the new owners, will take all the Inland companies to the next level and we are excited to share the future success with them.”

The ESOP has had an overwhelmingly positive effect on the company. Creating broad-based ownership among all employees, and fostering an environment in which everyone understands their role in helping the company achieve its bottom line. Research has proven over and over that employee ownership builds successful, competitive companies, and creates equitable wealth for employees. It has been shown that ESOP companies pay better benefits and generates twice the retirement income for employees.

“The ESOP gives the employees the knowledge of what the future holds for the company, and it is now in all our hands,” said Chris Rosenberger.

Bill Demmond added, “The industry veterans, and the up and coming stars who call Inland home, deserve this opportunity to take the company to the next level.”

Perhaps more remarkable among ESOP companies, both in the seafood industry and beyond, 84% of ESOP companies agree the ESOP improved motivation and productivity. The new company structure has poised Inland Seafood, and the Inland Market, Inland Lobster and Woodsmoke brands, for further success.

About Inland Seafood

Founded in 1977, Inland Seafood is one of the largest seafood distributors in the USA with full distribution facilities in Tucker, GA, Charlotte, NC, and New Orleans, and depots throughout the Southeastern US. The company also owns and operates a new value added facility & cold storage plant in Birmingham, AL, along with a ready-to-eat seafood salad plant in Stone Mountain, GA (Inland Market) and smoked fish plant in Atlanta, GA (Woodsmoke Provisions). In addition, the company operates and/or manages five lobster buying stations, along with its processing facility in South Portland, ME (Inland Lobster) to ship live & process lobsters and other seafood items.

For more information about Inland Seafood, visit

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