A West Cork fishmonger is continuing its home delivery service after the closure of local hotels and restaurants led to a decline in the sale of fish.
The Little Red Fish Co. delivers fish to a “big book of customers” from Skibbereen to Cork city each week.
Owner Lar McCarthy said that his priority in the current situation is to serve the elderly, vulnerable and people who cannot travel outside their houses.
“My biggest thing now at the moment is trying to get to older people and vulnerable people and people who just can’t travel out. It’s important to look after them because they’ve been loyal to us for the last 10 years so it’s our time now to be loyal to them.
“We’d be getting a lot of calls from older people too who’d ask would we mind stopping off somewhere and bringing in some shopping to them so we’ve been doing an awful lot of that as well,” he said.
The Little Red Fish Co, pride themselves on its reliable delivery service which covers different areas each day.
“We’ve a different route for every day so we cover a different area every day.
“If I told you that I’ll be on to you at ten past eleven with fish, I’ll be there at ten past eleven. It’s all time based and that’s why it works so well,” Mr McCarthy said.
The company is adhering to safety precautions in a bid to prevent the potential spread of the virus and is asking customers to avoid the handling of cash where possible.
To avoid the handling of coins in particular, Mr McCarthy has come up with special offers and rounded them off to €10.
The company is also offering to deliver vegetables, including potatoes, carrots and onions to peoples’ doors and the current €10 offer includes a 10kg bag of rooster potatoes and any two vegetables.
He said that although the closure of hotels and restaurants has led to a loss of “a huge amount of trade”, that the home delivery service has “taken off hugely”.
The company’s shop and seafood takeaway on South Main Street in Bandon closed its doors for the final time last month after roadworks in the town led to a significant drop in its takings.
The sewerage and drainage works closed main roads and streets in Bandon which made it difficult for people to enter the town or commute around the town, and in turn, affected business.
The decision to close was made as it was no longer sustainable with the ongoing roadworks leading to a loss of customers and a 50% drop in takings over a six month period.
The closure of the shop and the takeaway, which offered a hot food service, caused two staff members to lose their jobs.
Mr McCarthy said he now has one staff member working alongside him in delivering door-to-door to their customers.
He said that uncertainty lies ahead due to the collapse of the European fish market since the outbreak of Covid-19.
“There’s a lot of the boats in Castletownbere tied up now because the European market is closed so we’re only taking it day to day because we just don’t know how long we can get fish for,” he said.
He said that The Little Red Fish Co. is at an advantage “in a game that is so tight, there are always people on your tail” because it is a well-known local business and people are familiar with and trust the brand.
He asked people to “stay safe” and “take care of each other” in the current time of uncertainty.
To order from The Little Red Fish Co. to your door, call 0831034387.