Katie Thatcher. ©Kathryn Greves/VASG
The Nuts and Bolts Behind Providing Fresh Seafood to Williamsburg
July 12, 2012
Kathryn Greves. ©Janet Krenn/VASG
Behind the Lens as Our Summer Photo Intern
July 12, 2012
Show all

Researching What Williamsburg Residents Want in a CSF

Yangyang Zhou. ©Kathryn Greves/VASG

Yangyang Zhou. ©Kathryn Greves/VASG

Fresh oysters are one type local seafood product that might be offered in a Williamsburg CSF. ©Janet Krenn/VASG

Fresh oysters are one type local seafood product that might be offered in a Williamsburg CSF. ©Janet Krenn/VASG

How do you have a conversation about a product or service that doesn’t yet exist? This summer, William & Mary student Lichenyang Zhou, or Yangyang to her friends, is doing just that.

Yangyang Zhou. ©Kathryn Greves/VASG

Yangyang Zhou. ©Kathryn Greves/VASG

As a Virginia Sea Grant marketing intern, Yangyang is hitting the streets to determine whether a community-supported fishery (CSF) would be viable in Williamsburg. A CSF is a membership-based program in which customers pay a membership fee and receive a consistent amount of locally harvested seafood on a consistent schedule.

CSFs are still new. Currently there are only a handful of them around the U.S., and conducting market research on a product not many in our area have ever heard of before creates a unique challenge of having to educate and survey at the same time. Yet Yangyang has not been deterred.

“For me, there is nothing more exciting than seeing a new idea take off,” she said. By the end of the summer, she will have conducted about 100 interviews with locals, the data from which could advise the products, prices, and location of a Williamsburg CSF.

Following her internship, Yangyang will return to W&M from which she anticipates to graduate in May 2013 with an undergraduate degree in psychology and a minor in marketing. She plans to pursue market research as a career in her native China.

This marketing internship was sponsored by Virginia Sea Grant and the William & Mary Mason School of Business.