Bandon fishmonger takes first place at National Seafood Retail Business Awards

Pictured at this year’s BIM Seafood Retail Awards are Lar McCarthy, winner in the Independent Seafood Specialist award category – BIM Seafood Retail Business Award 2018, Anne Stephens, The Fish Market, Maynooth, winner of the BIM Young Fishmonger 2018 (Independent Seafood Specialist),Scott Smullen, Dunnes Stores, Cornelscourt, winner of the BIM Young Fishmonger 2018 (Supermarket Seafood Counter), Daniel Drwal of Tarpey’s Super Valu in Cavan winners in the Supermarket category for the Seafood Retail Business Award. Pic: Paul Sherwood

Lar McCarthy of The Fresh Fish Shop, Bandon has been announced as the 2018 winner in the Independent Seafood Specialist category at the inaugural Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) Seafood Retail Business Awards. The announcement was made at an awards ceremony, hosted by food writer and entrepreneur Domini Kemp, held in Wineport Lodge, Glasson, Athlone, Co Westmeath.

Lar was praised by the judges for diversifying his business as well as successfully and creatively marketing his products. Innovative thinking, new branding, a strong social media presence and a successful lunchtime trade of hot takeaway seafood dishes cooked by a chef instore, were some of the many offerings which impressed the judges. 

Lar McCarthy discovered his passion for seafood as a young child, when he helped his mother on her fish stall in Clonakilty. It was during this time that he learned the ins and outs of the fish merchant business, skills which he has carried over into his current role.

Speaking at the event, Lar said: “I am delighted with this win and think it is testament to the work we have put into understanding our customer’s needs and tastes. Working alongside my mother as a child and seeing first-hand the importance of positive customer relationships has been of huge benefit to my own business. I’m looking forward to growing the business with the help of the business support package I’ve won here today.”

The Seafood Retail Business Award was established to identify and acknowledge the seafood business managers with the best business skillset. It also strives to facilitate shop owners and managers in the sector to innovate and improve the management of their businesses.

Alongside Lar, Daniel Drwal, who works in Tarpey’s SuperValu in Cavan was chosen as this year’s winner in the Supermarket Seafood category.

Both winners of the Seafood Retail Business Awards demonstrated an ability to combine strong business acumen with a passion for and understanding of seafood.  Their award is a comprehensive business support package, designed to help the winners grow their business further into the future.

Speaking at the awards event, Jim O’Toole, BIM’s Chief Executive said: “With retail sales up 4% this year to €245 million, the inaugural Seafood Retail Business Award focuses on the business opportunity for seafood providing mentoring to candidates to develop their entrepreneurial capacity and serve as a catalyst for further growth in the domestic market. We are delighted with the extremely high standards in this year’s competition, emphasising the talent in the sector.”