Fleetwood fish firm lands growth cash

[caption id="attachment_94002" align="f-align-center" width="500"]My Fish Company, Lancashire, Business Kim Ashton and Gary Apps of My Fish Company[/caption]

A family-run fish wholesaler based in Fleetwood has revealed that it is experiencing rapid growth and meeting the challenge of the industry’s skill shortage to funding landed through work with Lancashire’s business growth hub.

My Fish Company began life in September 2015 with 17 staff. Today it has a 47-strong workforce and delivers to more than 300 independent customers across the North West.

The business, which was founded by Gary Apps and Kim Ashton, pictured here, supplies high-quality fresh fish, seafood and frozen products to the hospitality sector and can count well-known hotels including Armathwaite Hall Hotel in Cumbria, 60 Hope Street in Liverpool and Hotel Football Manchester among its customers.

Working with Boost and its North West Access to Finance team, the business, based in the famous Lancashire fishing port, secured a micro loan from Lancashire County Council’s Rosebud Business Finance fund. The money has enabled it to create eight full-time and three part-time jobs.

Boost; Lancashire's Business Growth Hub is led by the Lancashire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and Lancashire County Council, and supported by funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Kim, who manages the HR and financial side of the business, said: “Our business is focused on three things, people, product and passion for the industry. We have well over 200 years of fish industry experience in the team and thrive on helping more young people into the industry.

“We want to tackle the skills shortage in the industry. The funding we received through Boost has enabled us to take on and train additional staff.  It has also allowed us to increase our vehicle fleet, which in turn has meant we can expand our geographical footprint across the North West.”

Gary, who has worked in the industry since leaving school, added: “We want to be known for supplying the highest quality fish and seafood to hotels and restaurants across the region. Jonathan Nelson from the Access to Finance team really took the time to understand our business, meeting with us on three separate occasions and submitting the application to Rosebud on our behalf. We couldn’t have grown so quickly without his support.” Jonathan Nelson, of North West Access to Finance, said: “It’s great to see the company continuing to grow so quickly. Gary and Kim have a relentless passion for the fishing industry in Fleetwood and this filters through to the rest of the team. It’s the reason they have been able to come so far in such a short space of time.”