Aberdeen’s ExpressFreshFish.com saw a surge in online orders during lockdown – now it wants customers to remember that fresh, sustainable fish is still best.
The online website is part of established fish processing business J Charles, which was founded around 70 years ago by Wilfred Charles. The company has remained in the same family, passing on to son John and then grandson Andrew, who leads J Charles today.
Now, Wilfred’s great-grandson Henri Charles looks after ExpressFreshFish.com. Through this new website and fish delivery service, customers across the UK can easily access fresh, Scottish fish – and the family can continue to build on the expertise and reputation of J Charles.
“I think it is important that the company is still family run as it allows us to make sure we are providing and maintaining our produce to the highest quality,” says Henri.
“Especially during this time, being family run helped us stay open.”
With the whole family able to work throughout lockdown, they could manage the increased workload that came through ExpressFreshFish.com during this time – but they are also grateful for the rest of their team’s efforts, too.
Alongside the family, the other employees brought a lot of expertise to the table – with one employee, who is due to retire at the end of the month, in the unique position of having worked with all four generations of the Charles family during his time with the company.
Henri adds: “Our employees’ commitment to work throughout, with none being furloughed, also contributed greatly to providing fresh fish to customer doors throughout the UK.”
The company’s attitude and quick reactions as the coronavirus pandemic unfolded meant they remained open throughout.
“We were able to adapt quickly due to already having a small team which meant we only had to make small changes to allow for social distancing,” explains Henri.
“We already had a thorough sanitation process for our factory so we just brought in more hand sanitizers, wipes and increased the cleaning process throughout the day.”
But that’s not to say that, like most other businesses, ExpressFreshFish.com didn’t have to battle its own fair share of challenges during lockdown.
Henri said: “The biggest challenge at the start was having around 70% of the boats tied up, meaning the quantity of fish that was being landed was minimal whilst the number of orders increased dramatically. Making sure we were able to provide for everyone had to be well managed.
“It took a bit of time to get a successful system in place for fulfilling the orders too as before it was just myself making up the handful of orders but over time we needed to get more staff involved.”
All in all though, with everyone at the company pulling together, ExpressFreshFish.com was able to keep orders moving for customers across the country.
“The biggest success was during the heart of lockdown being able to provide high quality fresh fish to customers all over the UK, and hearing how we were making people’s days/weeks whilst they were stuck inside,” says Henri.
Now ExpressFreshFish.com is looking to maintain orders and continue introducing more customers across Scotland to the benefits of fresh fish.
“As the restrictions are easing we are continuing to listen to what the government are announcing to make sure we are able to adapt as quickly as possible but will be keeping our sanitation thorough,” adds Henri.
“I hope ExpressFreshFish.com is able to keep providing throughout the UK even as lockdown eases and more people start going to the shops, and that we’ve set a high enough standard that makes people want to buy fresh Scottish fish in the future.”
Order with ExpressFreshFish.com
By shopping directly with ExpressFreshFish.com, the fish you receive will be of the highest quality. It’s normally taken from boats, packaged and shipped out within 36-48 hours maximum.
The range available to order online includes the likes of haddock, cod, lemon sole and langoustines.
Add code ‘CWT’ into the notes as you checkout online and ExpressFreshFish.com will donate 10% of your order value to local charity Camphill Wellbeing Trust.
Find out more or place an order here.