Young Family Promote Local Seafood Industry From Van

Look out for The Fisho vans at Gilbert’s in Mandurah, Singleton and the Farmers Market.

Going by the name of Mr and Mrs Fisho, this young couple, knew they loved seafood, but did not know that after a career in the Navy an opportunity would lead them to owning their own seafood business, The Fisho – a seafood van in Singleton.

“It is a bit of a crazy story how we got into the seafood retailing business.”

“9 years ago, my husband and I were in the Navy and decided to try a new business venture as we were looking to start a family.”

“We had no clue what we were looking for, but an advert had appeared in the local paper for the purchase of a seafood van for sale in Singleton where we live,” she said.

Mrs Fisho, said that she flagged the advert, but didn’t take much notice of it. A week later the advert was still there, so the savvy business duo decided to take a visit and try their luck.

“We both looked at each, because as two avid seafood lovers, we knew that we could make it into a unique, quirky business.”

“We originally started with two small vans that we renovated – one a fridge and one a freezer.”

The couple juggled jobs for a year, working weekdays in the Navy and Friday, Saturday and Sunday at The Fisho.

“To get the business up and running and on its feet – we were both pushing 80 + hour weeks. And that is how we started. From there we met different contacts.”

“People were approaching us and we started to meet the local fishermen. It really took off from there,” she said.

The ride to success was not easy with long hours, commitments outside of work and also fighting the negative image consumers have of seafood vans.

“I just recently did a talk at Santa Maria College, and I was asked – what keeps you going.”

“For both of us, it is the fact that people can have such a negative connotation of a seafood van. For me personally, I thrive off the challenge of converting that person into a customer. It is this constant battle that ensures that we both continue to excel to make the business better.”

“The hardest part for us – is that we are not like a butcher or fresh fish shop. Customers can’t see the seafood. That is what makes us different as we have to build trust with the customer and we do this through education – we get the packs out, we show people the fillets, we explain where the product is from and we advise customers of seasonality.”

“We are unique in the sense that our vans are positioned at ground level so customers get a more personal feel. It is that personal touch that ensures trust can happen.”

After three years, business was booming, and a bigger van was required to meet the competing demands from customers.

“We were asked to be a part of the local farmers markets and then three years ago, Gilberts in Mandurah approached us to set up a van.”

“The van at Gilbert’s runs 7 days a week, the Singleton one opens from Wednesday through to Sunday and then we have the markets on the weekend. Yes, you can say we are busy,” she chuckled.

Mrs Fisho said that the hardest part of being a seafood van is that customers can’t view what they are purchasing. In order to get a sale – the husband and wife team need to ensure trust is built.

Mrs Fisho says that the business model works because they are truthful with their customers and want to educate them further about WA seafood to make them confident in their decisions when purchasing a new species.

“I think it comes down to the perception of seafood in general – people are afraid to cook with it, because there is that stigma that it is hard to cook.”

“Social media is used at The Fisho to educate our customers. We upload our own recipes, images of the fresh seafood and photos of the fisherman behind the scenes. It is important that customers know what they are buying and where our seafood comes from.”

“We also encourage customers to give other species a try. Snapper is a safe option but there are some beautiful fish out there that people won’t try because they are afraid.”

Concluding, Mrs Fisho said that the couple does everything in their nature to ensure that their small(but ever growing), family run business is great for customers.

“We listen to our customers – three years ago we saw a market for fresh fish and now our vans cater for that. We understood that some people just want to buy in bulk or want to purchase fresh, local fish.”

“Even though we are ‘just a van’, we ensure that the seafood we offer, such as Ruby Snapper, Red Emperor, Blue Spot Emperor, Barramundi, Tropical Snapper, Nannygai, Rankin Cod plus heaps more depending on the weekly catch are of high quality.”

“Yes it can be tough, but just seeing our 2 little girls growing up in an amazing environment – makes it worth it. Our daughter in pre-primary already helps out and grabs Salmon to put in the freezer.”

“It is all about educating the customer – and the younger generation – the next wave of seafood lovers. And we are doing that, one van at a time.”

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