George’s family has its roots in Florida, specifically, Tarpon Springs—the small town on the Gulf Coast that, from its earliest days was known as a winter retreat for northern visitors. At the turn of the 20th century, Tarpon Springs would become the epicenter of commercial sponge fishing through the “hard-hat” method used by Greek immigrants who, upon settling, also brought their faith, traditions, and culture. George grew up steps from the Sponge Docks with an early inclination for the sights, sounds, and aromas of activity there. That sense has always remained.
Melissa’s family moved around and traveled a lot while she grew up. They finally settled in and called California home (another state with lots of sunshine!). In her many travels, she developed a strong aversion for cheap souvenirs and appreciated things that had more of a local-origin story. Hmmm. Sounds like that might’ve led to something. And during a visit to Florida someone told her, “Once you get Florida sand in your shoes, you’ll be back.” It turned out to be prophetic.
George and Melissa’s paths crossed—in Massachusetts, actually. They would fall in love, get married, and be blessed with a son. As the years passed, the family began to conceptualize a business that would offer quality, stylish products worthy of the town and state they call home—and that’s how the idea of 44 Fish was born.
Fast forward to the present and, in every way, we are now a family-run company—yes, even our pre-teen son loves helping out. And we invite you to join us in our mission to encourage all to “Catch Florida” —a slogan that not only means enjoying the sunny climate, amazing natural resources, and attractions that draw millions every year; but also to recognize the incredible people that live, work, and visit here.