Since attending college in New England, I have come to love two things: inspiring entrepreneurial stories and great lobster rolls (okay – clam chowder too, so three things). And, when the founders and team at Luke’s Lobster agreed to be a part of our Made in America series, I was ecstatic. This team epitomizes how great companies can do good in the world. In Luke’s case, they are transforming alongside their industry – helping to make lobster fishing more sustainable; and working to make the sector carbon neutral while they are at it. It is just the continuation of a family legacy.
Luke Holden knows a thing or two about lobster. So does his dad. And his dad’s dad. In fact, the Holden family has built their lives around the sea, bringing its treasures to landlubbers across the globe in the form of a lobster roll.
What started as a single lobster shack in 2012 has grown into a sustainable lobster empire, with restaurants in ten U.S. states, Japan, and Singapore. In 2018, Luke’s began offering flash-frozen lobster meat, tails, and seafood meals in grocery stores across America. And when the pandemic temporarily shuttered their restaurants, Luke’s launched an online market to bring seafood direct from Maine to your doorstep. From dock to plate they handle every piece of the process to ensure their impact is a positive one – starting with the fishermen who bring it all home.
Situated in one of the most historically sustainable fisheries in the world, the Gulf of Maine is warming and acidifying faster than anywhere else in America. For Luke’s, the climate challenge on Maine’s coast is more than a company problem, it’s an industry problem. As a family-owned business generations deep, they take that responsibility to heart. Co-founder and CIO Ben Conniff said, “Island communities will be in jeopardy if we don’t engage in solutions as an industry.”
That’s why they became a certified B-corp in 2018. Since day one, they’ve been stewards of a sustainable fishery; and today their company runs on 100% renewable energy, and they are working towards true carbon neutrality – not just for their restaurants but for the entire lobster industry. Luke’s Lobster partners with fisherman and community members to strengthen their coastal economy and shore up the industry sustainably to weather the changes for generations to come.