Our Story

Just before the birth of his son in 2003, John Kelly was looking to go on a pre-fatherhood solo adventure trip. He wanted no more than a long drive with his canoe, paddle, backpack, and fishing/camping equipment. Without a destination, John went to his local paddle shop and inquired about possible “off  the beaten path” paddling areas. At the shop, he chose atlases and did a simple process of elimination to pick out a basic direction of travel. Being in search of a state with a plentiful amount of water and coastline, Maine was the winning destination. As to where in Maine to target, John then turned the atlas over and threw a dart. The dart landed in the midcoastal area of Maine, near where the mighty Kennebec River dumps into the Northwestern Atlantic Ocean.  A pristine area well known for its friendly people, great paddling and fishing.

After figuring out a destination, John loaded up all his gear and headed North with no itinerary and all his supplies for the week in a medium sized backpack. It was an exciting “go with the flow” adventure that brought lots of great fishing, hiking, paddling and solitude. John met a lot of the local fishermen while paddling his canoe along the rugged coastline in search of striped bass on ultralight tackle. With that kind of gear they knew right away that he wasn’t a local and inquired about what had brought him there. His simple answer was always “the fishing”. In the years to follow, John found himself longing to be in Maine every time he had a chance to travel.

At that time, John had a career as a teacher at a local private school. Teaching left his summers open and his visits to Maine began happening 3-4 times a year. After each trip up from Pennsylvania, he returned with enough seafood for his friends & family, and soon had the need to buy more coolers and a trailer to keep up with the demand. Upon realizing that being in the seafood business was what he wanted to do for a living, John left his teaching gig to become a fishmonger full time. 

Since the early days of this incredible adventure, the growth of JB Kelly Seafood Connection required John to add more fishmongers to our crew. We’ve gone from outdoor and pop up vending to brick and mortar indoor markets. We source our seafood out of Maine, the Eastern seaboard, Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, etc. every week. We have expanded into year round indoor market stands at The Broad Street Market in Harrisburg (open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday), and The Lancaster Central Market (open Friday, Saturday, and Tuesday). 

Our goal is to bring you the freshest, highest quality, and affordable seafood, directly from the wharfs of Maine and other locations. We carry various types of seafood that are harvested responsibly, legally and sustainably. Seasonal supply and demand dictate the price and availability.

We love being part of our market communities which are inclusive and friendly environments. Please feel free to ask us questions about our offerings or for preparation ideas. One of our favorite parts of market is to collaborate and continue to educate our customers on the seafood they’re choosing. Seeing folks every week, discussing our weekly menus and planning special events is what makes us part of your community, not just a seafood department. We are thankful to all of our customers who we consider part of our market family, and look forward to seeing you at one of our stands soon to catch up!

In gratitude,