Laurence Sweeney's father ran a restaurant, grocery and fishing supply business at the corner of Water and Forest Streets, opposite what is now the ferry terminal.  He also formed the Kirk and Sweeney Shipyard, which built his first vessel, the 114-foot Grand Banks Schooner Grace and Ruby.  During his teen years, Laurence assisted his father. 

From an early age, Laurence Sweeney was exposed to the intensely competitive fisheries business, one which was built on men from Pubnico and Yarmouth sailing and fishing together cooperatively, yet still in competition for the best catches and biggest share of the market.  The expanding fishing on Georges Bank saw catches being landed in Yarmouth for shipment to market.   His education from a mix of hands-on learning and formal training at the local business college.   He quickly learned where money was made and lost, and how to keep costs low to maintain a competitive edge.Photo of employees at Sweeney Fisheries

Walter Laurence Sweeney founded Laurence Sweeney Fisheries in 1923 when he was just 19 years old.  Over the next 63 years he built it into one of the most significant players in the East Coast fishing industry, with business activities across Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and the eastern United States.  The business thrived as Mr. Sweeney seemed to able to anticipate the changing tastes of consumers and moved to take advantage of and incorporate new developments in fisheries technology.

Mr. Sweeney valued the people who worked for him, and they returned his loyalty.  Many remained with Laurence Sweeney Fisheries throughout their lives.

 

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