Roy and Viola Pearson founded Pearson’s Port in 1971 as a way to support their six children and Roy’s love of fishing. After serving as a machinist for MacDonald Douglas, Roy could not stem his love for fishing and the ocean, much to Vi’s dismay. Buying a boat to chase that dream, Roy caught one lobster his first day out which Vi quickly flagged down a car to sell it to. Seeing the opportunity to put Vi’s charisma to work, he promised her a genuine fish market, all her own. After much convincing, Pearson’s Port was under construction and then operational February of 1971. Utilizing the labor of their six children; Lynn, Mark, Jeannie, Barbara, Tommy, and Christy, the Pearsons grew the business while Roy furnished the product. Primarily a gill net fisherman, Roy caught and Vi sold whatever products they could; always ensuring customers received the freshest catch of the day. The early years of the business were filled with Vi’s laughter, hastily learned Vietnamese, and many a hard-driven bargain.
Taking after his father, Tommy fell in love with the ocean and all the creatures it holds. Tommy bought his first boat by the age of sixteen and graduated from Roy’s deckhand to the captain of his very own vessel. With fishing running through his veins, it didn’t take long for him to become skilled and successful at his own operation. In the years to follow, Tommy married Terese and they had two children together, Haley and Carley.
Unfortunately, Roy suddenly and unexpectedly passed away, leaving Vi with the business. It was during this time that Tommy and Terese moved their young family in with Vi and purchased the business just a few years later; Tommy all the while keeping his father’s spirit alive through their shared craft.
Tommy and Terese decided early on that the fish, the ocean, and the market needed to be cared for and loved in the same way. Terese became the face of the market while Tommy worked tirelessly to provide high quality product throughout the seasons. Pearson’s Port began to evolve and modernize while still keeping the family tradition alive.
Today, Pearson’s Port continues to be a loved and well-known part of the Newport Beach community. Tommy and Terese have focused on sustainable and responsible fishing methods for over twenty years, relying on target fishing to minimize biproduct catch. Tommy, along with now twelve other fishing vessels up and down the coast of California, help to keep the fresh catch tradition alive by harpooning, trapping, and hook and lining nearly all the products sold at the market. Other specialty products are imported from sustainable fisheries all around the world. In true family form, Dillan, Haley’s husband, spent many years fishing under Tommy too, helping to keep the tradition alive.
Terese and her daughters, run the business full time and their laughter can often be heard before entering the building. They cut every fish to order and will provide customized cooking suggestions based on a customer’s unique preferences or tastes.
It is through a family effort and the amazing customers that frequent the market that Pearson’s Port thrives today. If you come here as a stranger, you are certain to leave as family.