Jerry Lasky knows how to start a business from the ground up.
Soon after the entrepreneur moved to Augusta in the late 1980s, he started selling shrimp door to door. The business took off, and he needed to find a retail space.
Lasky opened his first seafood business, Shrimp King, on Deans Bridge Road nearly 20 years ago. Today, he owns Crab King I and Crab King II, in Augusta and Hephzibah, and also owns Crab King of Aiken LLC.
Lasky wants to open more Crab King franchises, most likely in Atlanta, Columbia and Charlotte, N.C.
He considers his restaurants to serve specialty seafood because they sell garlic snow crabs and garlic blue crabs.
“These are formulas that are made for me by a seasoning company in Baltimore, Md. We want to be different,” Lasky said.
His businesses have very low turnover, and he hasn’t had to hire a new employee in eight years.
He said he treats his eight employees like family. They’ve eaten dinner at each others’ homes, and he even takes his employees on field trips, such as to Charleston, S.C.
“We’re very close. They tell me that I’m a good boss. I like to treat people as equal and as adults,” he said.
Lasky said he came from a hardworking, blue-collar family. His late father, Hal Lasky, was also a business owner.
After college, Lasky worked for Mobil Oil Co. in Philadelphia for five years as a marketing representative. In 1972, he moved to Orlando, Fla., where he and a partner became service station dealers. They later went out of business because of the gas shortage.
Lasky moved to Atlanta to work for Hess Oil Corp. as a field and marketing representative and later held other sales job. In 1980, he decided to become self-employed.
“I’ve been pretty much on my own since then,” he said.
In Atlanta, Lasky opened a business that sold industrial paper and janitorial supplies. He moved to Augusta in 1988 and entered the seafood business two years later.
Four years after opening Shrimp King, he moved to Milledgeville Road and opened Crab King I. In 2000, he opened Crab King II on Tobacco Road. In October, he opened his first franchise in Aiken, which is being run by two local businessmen.
Lasky said he would like to retire in three years to the South Carolina coast. The franchise owners in
Aiken have expressed interest in taking over his businesses.
“Crab King will still exist,” he said.
However, Lasky won’t be sitting at home bored. He plans to continue developing new Crab King franchises, he said.