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Archway fishmonger swims against tide with traditional independent shop

Owner, Farzad Yousefi, inside the new Archway Fresh Fish and Seafood shop in Junction Road. Picture: Polly Hancock Owner, Farzad Yousefi, inside the new Archway Fresh Fish and Seafood shop in Junction Road. Picture: Polly Hancock

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
8:00 AM

One by one, traditional independent shops like greengrocers and fishmongers have shut on high streets across the country as they fail to compete with major supermarkets.

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However, a fishmonger determined to buck this trend has opened a store in Archway and he told the Ham&High that business has never been better.

Farzad Yousefi, 38, has been in the fish industry for 15 years and opened Archway Fresh Fish and Seafood in Junction Road after searching for premises in the area for two years.

It is his third shop, with stores already in Seven Sisters Road, Holloway, and Edgware.

Mr Yousefi, of Bredgar Road, said he was not at all worried about rising rents that have forced many other businesses to close.

“Supermarket prices are really high, our prices undercut them,” he said.

“The fish is all hacked up at supermarkets and people don’t know what they’re buying.

“Here, they can see the fish and choose what they want to buy. I do very good business. I’m not going to be shut down.”

The shop’s fish is from Billingsgate and Mr Yousefi offers customers a wide selection of both fresh and frozen fish and seafood from his open shop-front – including jellied eels, mussels, sprats, salmon, grey and red mullet, bream, whelks, trout, squid and cuttlefish.

Fishmongers are increasingly hard to find these days with only a handful of others to be found locally, such as Hampstead Seafoods in Hampstead High Street, Harry’s in Kentish Town, A. Scott & Son Fishmongers in High Road, East Finchley, and Walter Purkis & Sons in Crouch End.

Arts consultant John Thornley, 64, of Highgate, was so surprised to see a wet fish shop open in the area that he hailed it a “heroic” act on the part of Mr Yousefi.

“For one to open rather than an established one to close is so miraculous,” he said.

“I can’t work out how the bloke is managing it but some sort of fund should be set up to help him.

“The problem for new businesses is the struggle with rents and taxes, which is enough to make most shopkeepers stick to something very safe where the profits are good. For Mr Yousefi to do something like this where the margins are small is quite heroic.”

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