The Good Fish Company: The Journey So Far
Writes Jack White
Founded in 1988 by Currabinny man Denis Good, The Good Fish Company has seen significant expansion in the 30 years since its first production unit in Denis’ garage and a small retail unit in Wylie House, Carrigaline.
“Quality, service and competitive price”, that’s what Denis attributes the company’s growth to in the early days and it’s still very much what the loyal customers of The Good Fish Company keep coming back for, three decades on.
The scale of The Good Fish Company now is a massive local success story, employing almost 100 full time staff across their production unit in Carrigaline and five retail outlets, Carrigaline, Ballincollig, Kinsale, Douglas Court and South Douglas Road.
The beginning of the business, as with any, was a learning curve for Denis. In the early 90’s, Denis opened a retail unit on Mill Lane, Carrigaline, while production moved in 1991 to a unit in the Carrigaline Pottery Complex. “From the unit we started supplying hotels and restaurants” says Denis. “There was a lot of cold calling, meeting people and networking to try to win contracts and expand the business. We used to get our fish from Crosshaven, Kinsale, Union Hall, and as things expanded, Castletownbere. I’d be buying at auction in Union Hall at 6am in the morning and selling in Cork later that day. We built a reputation for selling a good product and while we started buying up to half a tonne a day, we soon moved up to truck loads every day”.
In the mid 90’s, the company moved their production to Midleton for a short time but soon moved it back to Carrigaline with the construction of the first new fish factory in the country for many years. It was built in 1996, to the highest standards with support from, as Denis says, “A very kind bank manager in AIB, Enterprise Ireland and BIM. “From there we have since doubled in size”, says Donagh Good, Denis’ son who joined the company 4 years ago. “The unit allowed us to supply supermarkets, including Tesco, who’ve we’ve supplied on and off for 20 years, along with many others, including Aldi, Lidl, SuperValu and Dunnes Stores.
While Denis has been at the helm since the beginning, Donagh, the 4th generation of Good’s from Currabinny has come on board in recent years. After completing his masters at Smurfit Business School, Donagh worked with Bord Bia and several Irish food companies in the UK, including Keogh’s Crisps. “It was a good experience”, says Donagh, “I was lucky to learn an lot about the food industry and come in to the company with that perspective”.
Looking for fresh ideas, last year Denis and Donagh came up with the concept of trialling a café at the Carrigaline retail unit. Now fully operational, with new outdoor seating to be enjoyed during the current spectacular weather, the café offers a range of fresh fish food options along with sandwiches, sweet treats and outstanding Nespresso coffee.
‘In opening the café, we really felt we could offer a fresh, healthy, fish option. A lot of people over the years may have only eat fried or battered, unhealthy fish options. We want to show that you can have local, tasty and healthy fish in a convenient food style, while enjoying a cup of coffee or whatever you like”, says Donagh. “In recent years we had begun selling artisan, local products like eggs, honey etc., so it was a natural expansion to try the café,” says Denis. “In time, we’d love to bring to the market, ready-to-go fish based meals, taking the hassle out of preparation for our customers”, he says. With the café, Denis says they want to provide a healthy, convenient alternative to a chipper. “Consumer trends are changing and we’re moving with that change”, he says.
The Nespresso coffee at the café is top of the range and with a conscious view towards being environmentally friendly, all cups and lids are made from plant based materials and are fully compostable, as is every fork, knife, serviette, and every bit of packaging at the café.
So, whether you’ll continue to enjoy The Good Fish Company for its wonderful, fresh and great value fish over the counter or indeed the fantastic new café in Carrigaline, one thing is ensured, you’re going to always get the best in quality, while supporting local jobs and business.
Here’s to continued success.