CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Charlie Alegria’s father got into the seafood business in 1950, and started his own business in 1960. Alegria took over that business, Morgan St. Seafood, in 1997.
The business has been in Corpus Christi for more than 60 years, but that almost changed due to the pandemic.
“When the pandemic hit, everything just went bad. We lost activity, restaurants shut down, people were having a hard time, they were just doing the to-go orders, but that was just not the same for people that we deal with,” Alegria said.
On top of restaurants and catering halls closing, Alegria was having a hard time finding fish, because a lot of his East Coast providers were closed.
“We couldn’t get any product, it was hard for us to sell the fish, even if we did get it, so it was tough,” he said.
However, Alegria persevered. He gave his workers as many hours as he could afford to, and the business remained open. The Paycheck Protection Program and arrival of the summer, helped get business back on track.
“The loans from the government did help us sustain ourselves a little bit, and then come June, when the warm weather came around, they lifted some of the percentages of occupancy for the restaurants, and it started getting better, and I was able to find product,” Alegria said.
Alegria said he tries to use local fish as much as possible, and gets a lot of locally available fish from boats he works with in the Port Mansfield area.
The Morgan St. Seafood has been in Alegria’s family for decades, and he continues the tradition.
“My son is here with me, and I love it when my grandkids come here, and they’re only young, but when they put their boots on, it just makes me feel so happy,” he said.
Alegria said he’s seen more business as the vaccine has been distributed in the area, and restaurants are able to have more patrons. While the business is not at the level it was in 2019, it is better than it was in 2020. He said he has no plans on going anywhere.
“We’re not going to go anywhere. We believe in this community, we’re going to do everything we can to take care of our community, and do everything we can to be a part of this community. Corpus Christi is a great place to live. I don’t want to live anywhere else, and we’re going to be here to support them, and do everything we can for them,” Alegria said.