Launching a business during a pandemic is apt to be a challenge, but for Morgan’s Harbor to Hill, “It was the right time,” Bill Morgan explains. Morgan, who opened the seafood market in January, had been planning his exit from The Spoon, the diner he ran for 19 years. When COVID-19 hit, it made financial sense to expedite the transfer to partner Samantha Prescott. Meanwhile, a retail location had become available across the street, so Morgan decided it was the right moment to “try this little seafood market.”
“I had always liked the idea of doing a small shop,” Morgan said. In the 1990s, he worked for Wellesley-based Captain Marden’s Seafoods, which now supplies Harbor to Hill. “The beauty of Captain Marden’s is they go to three or four places every day to get fresh seafood,” Morgan explains. “I talk to them in the morning, and they generally have it out to me by noontime.”
Some of the staples Harbor to Hill carries include cod, haddock, swordfish, salmon and scallops. Other offerings are based on seasonality; in the summer, for example, the market will have striped bass and wild-caught salmon. “If somebody asks for something I don’t normally carry, like whole red snapper or bluefish, I’ll bring it in,” Morgan adds, “We can get almost anything in season in 24 hours.”
In addition to operating as a market, Harbor to Hill offers a takeout menu with ready-to-eat options as well as offerings that can be cooked at home. Some popular items include gluten-free air-fried fish and chips, lobster rolls, baked fish and clam chowder.
“The freshness and quality” of Harbor to Hill’s products are what make the market stand out, Morgan says. “The word of mouth around Hopkinton has been terrific,” he says, “but we’re still getting people in for the first time.” As a business whose commitment to freshness requires a steady stream of customers, Morgan hopes word will continue to spread. “The biggest challenge is the inventory,” he explains. “It’s pricey and it’s perishable.”
At the shop, Morgan’s wife, Anne, lends a hand, as do other family members. Local high schoolers and college students help out, too. “They’re all great,” he says of the students. “They’re learning the fish business.”
Morgan says his team has appreciated neighbors’ feedback: “People are always telling us, ‘We’re so glad you’re here.’ ” During COVID-19, Morgan also has been able to rescue some traditions. When local families couldn’t travel for their traditional lobster bakes in Maine or New Hampshire, Harbor to Hill was able to supply their at-home feasts.
With an eye toward growing the shop, Morgan has his Spoon diner legacy in mind: “I want to continue to be a part of the community,” he says.
Harbor to Hill, located at 8A Lumber Street, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Customers might catch Morgan during off-hours, too: “I always tell people, if they see my truck, I’m open.” Call 508-625-1006 to place an order, and find specials at facebook.com/HarbortoHill.
Business Profiles are advertising features designed to provide information and background about Hopkinton Independent advertisers.