Backstory

Former NFL safety now calls plays in seafood market

vbridges@newsobserver.comDecember 17, 2012 

  • Dwayne Greene’s business advice •  Know your business. Work your business, morning, noon and night. •  Save your money. Hard times are coming. •  Always treat your neighbors as yourself.

— Dwayne Greene is the star quarterback behind the Capital Seafood Market team.

“Everyone has a position to play,” said Greene, 52, a former Broughton All-American quarterback, N.C. State defensive back and safety for the Raiders when they were based in Los Angeles. “I call the plays, and they carry it out.”

Greene played in three Raiders preseason games in 1985, but was sidelined for the rest of the season after hurting his back during training camp.

That injury would end up costing Greene his NFL career. He returned to Raleigh and started working for a telecommunications company.

“I had something to come back to,” Greene said. “I had a college degree. I had skills. I wasn’t a dumb jock sitting on the bus crying because I wasn’t playing anymore.”

Today, he uses the skills learned from football and his father, a fireman and an entrepreneur, to develop and direct a team of employees and seafood vendors, and to cater to and build a base of loyal, lifetime customers.

“I have to sell all these little sales. All these little sales have got to be right,” Greene said. “And if they are not right, I have to be standing here when you get here to make it right. That’s the only way you will come back. That is the only way we can stay here.”

Greene started his first business in the late 1980s after he noticed a closed convenience store.

Greene called the store owner, agreed to lease the building and bought equipment and inventory.

In the early 1990s, a woman who ran a dog grooming shop in a nearby shopping center asked Greene if he knew anyone who wanted to take over her lease. Greene, who had noticed people lining up to buy seafood out of a pickup truck behind his store, decided to forgo his plan to buy a car and use the money to cover the woman’s lease.

Three months later, he opened Northside Fish Market in Raleigh, which he ran until 2002.

“At that time, there was no seafood market in the north side of town,” Greene said. “I like fish, so I said, ‘Why don’t I open a fish market?’ ”

He also opened a seafood market at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh. After that five-year lease expired, Greene bought Jack’s Seafood on Raleigh’s New Bern Avenue. He also bought a building on Maywood Avenue and in 1999 opened Capital Seafood Market across the street from the State Farmers Market. He expanded Capital Seafood Market by opening another store on University Drive in Durham in 2000. He ran all four shops before selling Northside Fish Market in 2002 and Jack’s Seafood in 2004 to focus on Capital Seafood.

He spent years building relationships with customers and vendors and working his way into ideal locations, he said.

Greene’s relationships with his vendors are key. He depends on them to deliver, even during seafood shortages. And his relationships with his customers are vital.

That’s why Greene sells only fresh seafood, and keeps up with the types of seafood customers want and how they want their fish gutted and cleaned.

That effort won longtime customer Javon Saxon, a Catholic priest in Laurinburg.

“If I don’t buy it here, I don’t buy it,” Saxon said. “It’s always fresh. It’s always clean.”

Bridges: 919-829-8917

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