Image above: Govent Garden fishmongers closed since Christmas; photograph Hamish Pringle
Speculation over what will happen to the shop
Speculation has been rife as to what is happening with Covent Garden fishmongers in Turnham Green Terrace in Chiswick. The shop did not reopen after Christmas and rumours started about the shop closing permanently and owner Garry Diamond being ill.
Garry, who has run the shop for over 40 years, has now confirmed that he is taking retirement because of illness, but says the shop will reopen soon under new management.
There have been two hand-written signs which have appeared in the shop window. The first said:
‘Due to a well deserved staff holiday + refurb we will be reopening on Tuesday 23rd, or a little earlier if possible.’
As 23 January came and went, another sign was put up, this time saying:
‘Dear customers, just to let you know we are “still fishing” but will be back soon, Jackie and the team x And new management’.
Image above: Messages in the window
A personal mesage from Garry
Garry has now left a message on the shop’s answerphone saying he is retiring through ill health and thanking customers for their loyalty. Here is the message in full:
“With great sadness I need to tell you that due to pretty serious illness I am being forced into early retirement, therefore I personally will not be running the show any more.
“However, after a very well-deserved holiday, Jackie will be back with my good friend and super-qualified fishmonger and new owner in a couple of weeks’ time.
“On a personal note, I would like to thank you for your loyalty over the past 40 years. Wishing you a very happy new year. Over and out.”
Image above: Garry in November 2022
40 years of fishmongering
Covent Garden fishmongers celebrated 40 years in November 2022. Garry worked with his father, whose Covent Garden stall the shop is called after, for many years, and took over the business fully from him a few years ago.
He had started running his own business selling jeans when he left school, but got involved in running the fishmongers when his father asked him to help out. When his father opened a shop in central London, he wanted Garry to take over his Covent Garden stall. They moved to Turnham Green Terrace after a couple of years.
Like Macken Brothers butchers opposite, the shop in Turnham Green served the locals, while their clients were all over London, as they supplied a lot of the central London hotels and restaurants.
“The road has changed a lot” he told The Chiswick Calendar in an interview to mark the shop’s 40th birthday in 2022.
“There was a lot less traffic and the shop was never empty. It was incredibly busy”.
Images above: The shop in November 2022
Opening under new management
When he first went to work with his father in the 1980s they had many more customers – perhaps a third more than come into the shop now – but, he told me, his clients now spent a lot more individually.
The business they built up has an excellent reputation, but it has not been the easiest of career choices for Garry – he gets seasick if he sets foot on a boat, and his daughter is severely allergic to fish, so much so that he had to strip off his clothes as soon as he got home and shower before picking her up as a baby.
His business was also impacted by the opening up of the Whistling Oyster in Devonshire Rd, by his former employee and two of their regular customers. Garry told me 95% his clients were repeat customers, so Jackie and the new owner must be hoping that loyalty will transfer to them.
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