Like many Cuenca businesses, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced Lenny Charnoff to change his business model. Known for selling high-quality salmon and a growing list of other food products, he realized early during the health emergency lockdown that his distribution system had to adapt.
“I had handled most of my distribution through Sunrise Café on Calle Larga but this was no longer possible after things shut down in March,” Lenny says. “I wanted to do my part to protect people from the virus and this meant switching to home delivery.”
One of the challenges he faced was maintaining the reliable services his customers — most of them expats — had come to expect. “I had established high expectations with my products and, all of a sudden, I had to develop a delivery system to match those expectations.”
Four months after the pandemic dramatically changed people’s lives, Lenny’s delivery system is running smoothly. “I hired a very reliable bi-lingual delivery man who understands the protocols for keeping customers safe. The system allows customers to schedule deliveries six days a week to fit their needs..”
For Lenny, Cuenca Salmon, is a second “retirement” career. “I realized two months after I came to Cuenca in 2011 that I wasn’t a Laz-y-boy kind of guy and needed to be busy doing something,” he says. At first, the former New York-based Apple business development manager followed his tech roots in starting the Cuenca iPad users group and establishing the Cuenca Tech Life blog to discuss computer- and internet-related issues.
Soon, however, Lenny’s interests turned to seafood. “One question I had since moving to Ecuador was, why can’t I find good salmon? Some of the world’s best salmon comes from Chile, down the South American coast, but it was hard to find in Cuenca.”
Through a contact he made in Quito, Lenny found the salmon he was missing, worked out the shipping details, and Cuenca Salmon was born.
Although he has earned the reputation as Cuenca’s “Salmon Guy,” Lenny has expanded his inventory in recent months to include a range of other hard-to-get products. In addition to his mainstay salmon, his sales list includes a range of other fish and seafood including wahoo, rainbow trout, tilapia, corvina, red tuna, mahi mahi, robalo, Amazonian paiche, organic shrimp, octopus and scallops.
In addition, he now sells specially aged cuts of prime beef from from Uruguay, lamb chops, rack of lamb, leg of lamb and ground lamb, lamb sausages and duck. For a full list of Lenny’s seafood, fish and meat offerings, check his website Cuenca Salmon.
Among the other new products offered by is Cuban Coffee blended by Sunrise Cafe’s Frank Gonzalez, offered ground or in beans.
Cuenca Salmon provides customers with a reusable cloth bag for deliveries. “Because I sell seafood, I have a special interest in keeping plastic out of the oceans as well as landfills, so the reuseable bag made sense from both a personal and business standpoint. We deliver in one of our bags and the customer returns the bag from the previous order.”
The focus of Lenny’s business is to sell high quality products that are not available in Cuenca or, are available at inferior quality. “I have worked hard over the years to build a good reputation and I have to make sure that everything I sell helps maintain that reputation.”
For more information about Cuenca Salmon products and to place orders, go to Cuenca Salmon, or write Lenny at firstname.lastname@example.org