The Producers: The Little Fish Shop, Kelvedon
PUBLISHED: 09:22 16 June 2014
This month Stephanie Mackentyre talks to The Little Fish Shop in Kelvedon
The Little Fish Shop opened in March 2011 after Maria Nash and her partner, Phil Wright, were searching for newer, larger premises. The couple’s original business, The Little Fish Company, supplies fresh fish and seafood products to the catering trade and came about in February 2009 after Phil was made redundant from a fruit and vegetable company. The new location they found in Kelvedon gave them both a shop front,
so they could now also cater for the general public, and still enough room out back to prepare the fish for sale for their trade customers. The Little Fish Shop is now open Tuesday through to Saturday, from 9am to 5pm.
Remembering how things first began, Phil explains: ‘I said to Maria, “what am I going to do now?” and she said I should go fishing.’ Phil already had his own fishing boat, the Cathy Anne which he moors at Wivenhoe, and had been fishing from it at the weekends. He began The Little Fish Company with the help of a friend, a former sales manager who gave him five customers to start him off. He now has 65 regular customers.
‘Of the five original trade clients, we still have four of them, and the fifth one only stopped as the premises turned into a private house.’ explains Phil.
Now Phil and Maria offer their customers the freshest fish they can possibly find, including the fish Phil catches himself. They also source from a number of local fishermen and all locally-caught fish is prepared and on the counter within 24 hours. Some of their fresh fish comes from markets including line-caught cod from Lowestoft in Suffolk, halibut, haddock and coley from Peterhead in Scotland and salmon from Loch Duart, where they practice low density stocking so the fish are active, lean and healthy and as close to wild salmon as possible.
Phil and Maria also sell shellfish, purchased daily in Billingsgate Market, and from here Phil can also source more unusual wet fish including tuna, swordfish, snapper and pink bream.
Phil adds: ‘Our most popular at the moment is skate and sea bass, or our Dover soles. Our sushi grade tuna comes from Billingsgate. Customers come in, try it and as soon as they have a taste they buy it.’
Phil’s brother, Steven, now works with him as shop manager too as Phil’s day starts rather early. ‘My day normally starts around 12.15am and I don’t get home till 5pm in the evening. But if there’s no local fish, I can finish around lunchtime,’ says Phil.
Future plans for The Little Fish Shop include a second shop at Humphrey’s at Great Leighs, once planning permission is granted.
Get the taste
The Little Fish Shop
34 High Street
Three to try:
42 High Street
The Company Shed
129 Coast Road
Estuary Fish Merchants
8 Cockle Row
Leigh Old Town
Leigh on Sea