Ladywell’s Posh Fish Shop had a brilliant opening night – “30 bottles of champagne and 350 oysters”, says Can Ozdemir, who has taken over the running of a business set up by his father. “But now for the hard part”.
“We had lots of support from the local community. It was a great night. But now we have to establish a successful and sustainable business.”
Can says his father ran the Catch Inn, the fish and chip shop in the village, but decided to retire because his health was deteriorating.
“My father is now back in Turkey … in Antalaya … recuperating. So I took over and decided to help my mother. We’ve modernised and rebranded the business.”
Can, who has worked in the construction business, oversaw most of the refurbishment work himself. But he was helped by other members of the family.
His uncle and cousin run the now well established Vintage Fishery in Wimbledon. It was set up in 2016 and is now a thriving fish and chip shop with a fresh fish counter.
Can hopes to do the same over time, using his cousin’s Billingsgate connections. “I want to offer fresh fish to order.” But for the time being he has other problems to solve.
He is opening the business at a time of high inflation. Electricity and fish prices have shot up – and potato prices have rocketed. “We used to pay £6 for a sack of potatoes. Now its £16.”
He hopes the business will settle down by November. Jan is already thinking about expanding the products and services he offers.
He is looking for suppliers of vegetarian and vegan products that he can sell. He hopes to offer grilled as well as battered fish by November.
He also wants to offer gluten free fish and chips every Tuesday when the shop will change the oil in the fryer.
Can says he hopes to find a good pie supplier and is currently talking to Goodmans of Sevenoaks – “a good old school pie maker”..
His mother has been busy helping him set up the shop. They are already making their own sauces, coleslaw and tartar sauce. They also make fish cakes to their own recipe, he says.
Can admits its a tough time to start the business. But he remains optimistic. “With a supportive community and a family that understands the business we will make it work.”