Where customers come from – John & Paul Fresh Fish

This article is a part of Your Footscray – an initiative of the Footscray Business Reference Group supported by Regional Rail Link

People from as far away as Bendigo and Geelong have been travelling to the Footscray Market for more than three decades. It also continues to be popular with the locals and the many new residents moving into the area.

This week, we find out how the customers have changed from two people who have had a first hand view from their fresh fish shop in the market.

JohnKevin02 In three words, describe your typical customer?
John: Fun, friendly and beautiful. Our customers come here for a laugh and a chat and sometimes even a dance!

Paul: On Saturday mornings, when we’ve got music going, sometimes people dance. We get a lot of people who come for the entertainment alone.

Of your customers who are not Australian-born, which countries do they represent?
When we first opened up, it was 60 or 70 per cent European Aussies. Now, it’s all changed and 60 per cent are Vietnamese and the rest are European Aussies who aren’t interested in cleaning fish like their parents. The Vietnamese eat a lot of fish. Their diet is sensational.

What do customers like most about the experience?
Paul: We get a lot of very good feedback. Our customers keep coming back. I think the main ingredient in our success is down to dad … He always insisted ….

John: I was very conscientious and insisted everything was done properly.


Describe the biggest change you’ve seen among your clientele over the years you have run your business?
Paul has been here for about 32 years and he’s seen a shift from European to Vietnamese customers. The other big change has been that not everyone wants to clean their own fish. We’ve also noticed that the Market has so much potential.

Who is your most loyal customer?
John: It’s hard to pick one because hundreds of people come back every week but there’s a European lady who’s been coming to our shop every Thursday morning for years and I try to get her a special fish. She says she only comes to the Market to buy her fish.

Paul: We have customers who come down from Bendigo and Ballarat to shop here. One guy who lived in Footscray all his life now comes down from Castlemaine. Franco Cozzo also shops here.

What does it really take to actually run your business smoothly and keep customers happy?
It takes a lot of back-breaking, hard work. It’s constant and sometimes you want to scream because you don’t stop for a minute.

John & Kevin’s Fresh Fish
Footscray Market, Footscray VIC 3011