Bennie’s Seafood closes in Madison Heights, family plans to keep business going

Bennie’s Seafood on US 29 Business in Madison Heights recently announced its closure at the end of 2022, the business’s 40th anniversary year.

Jeannie Shelton, manager and daughter of the business’s founder, the late Ben “Bennie” Taylor Dryden Sr., said in a video message on the business’s official Facebook page that the lot the store is located on has been sold. Bennie’s Seafood’s last day at the location between Sheetz and Walmart was Dec. 31, Shelton said.

Bennie Dryden, who died in October 2018, was born in Hampton and grew up a lover of seafood and water. He was known as the “Fishman” and operated in Lynchburg before opening the Madison Heights store.

Jeannie Shelton in a previous interview with the New Era-Progress recalled her dad selling items out of his truck and setting up shop at the Community Market in downtown Lynchburg to sell items. The business stocked fresh seafood handpicked from the East Coast or shipped in fresh from ocean waters.

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In the video post, Jeannie Shelton said the business is looking at other ways to operate.

“This is not the end of us and I’m not going to let it be the end of us,” she said.

She thanked the store’s customers, many whom she has known since she was a child and are like family, she said.

Store employees worked hard through the holidays to make sure customers had oysters for Christmas morning, she said. She expressed optimism about a way forward as far as operating this year and beyond.

“Maybe it’s going to be a better change for us,” Jeannie Shelton said.

To follow the business, visit its Bennie’s Seafood and Oyster House Facebook page.


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