EDMONDS, WA-Skipper’s is on the hunt for existing fast food locations it can lease and convert to fast seafood locations. Using money from sale-leasebacks, the locally based company has opened eight new locations in Washington, Oregon and Utah this year and plans 10 a year for the near future.

Skipper’s will be handling the growth with a new CEO. Paul Baird resigned on July 10 and was replaced by Brad Barnett, the company’s chief financial officer. Barnett tells GlobeSt.com the company is steering toward profitability and recently cut 40% from its general and administrative expenses.

“We have flirted with profitability but we are not quite there,” says Barnett. “We’re just trying to get lean and mean, and we now feel like the company is in a position where it can be profitable.”

Part of that plan is not to spend too much on new locations, which is why the company is seeking existing fast food locations to take over rather than building new stores. “There’s enough opportunity to take over from existing fast feeders to be able to meet our mild growth needs,” says Barnett. “We owned a lot in the beginning, but since have executed sale-leasebacks that have allowed us to pay off all our debt and use cash to expand.”

Barnett says four of the company’s eight recently opened stores were former Boston Market locations, and another was a former Kentucky Fried Chicken. Including the cost of equipment and the leasehold, Barnett says locations can typically be had for around $150,000.

“It’s very inexpensive and it’s what we have to do,” says Barnett. “We’re not going to generate the kinds of volume as Burger King and McDonalds and therefore we have to be more modest with our real estate needs.”

Barnett says he has had some requests to locate Skipper’s in other states, but he’s hoping to iron out the kinks here first, before looking to franchise and move outside the region. Skipper’s is majority owned by Olympic Capital Partners, a Seattle-based venture capital firm.

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