BUTLER — The Lobstah Shack started with a recession, and a dream.
When the financial crisis of 2008 drove boat prices down so low that he couldn’t keep fishing, seasoned lobsterman Brett Fletcher envisioned an obvious, if risky solution: bring fresh Maine Lobster to his hometown in Knox County.
Within the year, he was the proprietor of one of this area’s most unique businesses, The Lobstah Shack. Fletcher is now celebrating his 14th year in business.
Fletcher moved to Maine in 1990, after graduating from Ohio State with a degree in Natural Resource Management. His grandmother had a modest summer cabin on Georgetown Island, just north of Portland — albeit one with no electricity, heat, or running water. He toughed it out.
A small loan from his parents helped him buy his first lobster boat and traps. Off season, he worked odd jobs to make ends meet those first few years fishing: in a cannery, diving for sea urchins in the winter months, plowing the roads during Maine’s notoriously cold winters.
Twenty years later, he was ready to bring his love of fresh Maine lobster home to family and friends.
So in the winter of 2009, Fletcher bought a lobster tank and hauled it to Ohio from Merrimack, Massachusetts, plopped it down in the yard and enlisted the help of Dave and Curt Doup.
The trio leveled, measured, sawed and hammered until they’d built an East Coast style shack around the tank. Fletcher decorated it with memorabilia, including some of his signature black-and-white-bouys, lobster traps, and photos of years on the water.
On Memorial Day in 2009, Fletcher opened for business. The Lobstah Shack is located at 18784 Lower Fredericktown-Amity Road, Butler, Ohio.
Although the address is in Butler the building is located just north of Mount Vernon, about a mile and half west of the intersection of Route 3 and Fredericktown-Amity Road.
“There were cars lined up all the way down the driveway,” he said. “I sold 350 pounds of lobster in the first 90 minutes.”
For the first few years he was in business, Fletcher would make the 18-hour drive to Georgetown, fish his own stock, then drive the lobsters back to Ohio for his customers.
Now, he sources lobsters from friends in Maine and has them shipped to Ohio.
As with any business, there have been many ups and downs. The Lobstah Shack has weathered economic crises, supply issues, Fletcher’s own health problems, mechanical issues, the pandemic, and even a 2022 tornado that led to two electrical fires.
“We’re still here, crackin’ away,” Fletcher says, “thanks to all our customers!”
This Memorial Day, Fletcher will mark his 14th year in business with free snacks and drinks for customers, and t-shirts for sale.
For more information about the Lobstah Shack, visit www.thelobstahshack.com or call 207-751-9151.
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