We caught up with Brian Shrigley, owner of Liverpool’s B Shrigley & Son fishmongers to find out.
Based in Mossley Hill in Liverpool, B Shrigley & Son first opened its doors in 1966. Current owner Brian Shrigley took over from his father after first joining the business in 1976, and has seen it change significantly over the years.
“The high street has been through a realty tough time and sometimes you have no choice but to adapt,” he said. “Some high streets completely died over the last 10 to 15 years and we had to close a couple of shops as a result, so we could focus our efforts on the main shop, which is in a much busier area.
“One thing that hasn’t changed is what we do, which is help our customers with expert advice and sell them outstanding produce.”
B Shrigley & Sons remains a family business, these days staffed by Brian along with his wife and sister. Although times are tougher than they once were, Brian still relishes the sense of independence and takes great pride in the business.
“The independence is great,” he said. “There is no-one to answer to and, though we work hard and long hours, we get to decide where that time is spent, and reap the rewards.
“I still go to the market every morning and do the buying, so we control entirely what we sell. But it’s more than that. We’re proud of this business and keeping the shop nice, offering quality seafood, and helping customers is what it’s all about.”
Brian is happy too that the shop plays its part on a thriving high street: “The difference on the high street is you are communicating with people. There’s no communications at the supermarket.
“Lots of our customers are regulars and we get a lot of older people coming in who might not see many people from one visit to the next, so they like to have a chat. That’s the difference. You have to look after those customers, treat them all the same, with care and friendliness.”
In recent years, Brian has seen a new kind of customer joining the shop’s roster of regulars.
“We get a lot of Portuguese and Spanish professionals coming in now,” he explained. “They are great, really into their seafood and word must be getting around within their communities, which is good for us.”
An experienced independent business owner, Brian knows all too well that operating a shop brings risk.
“It’s funny,” he said. “But the thing I worry about most is the shop window. It’s probably the most valuable thing in the shop, so I’d hate to see it go through. Touch wood, we’ve not had a major problem yet but business insurance for me is good to know it’s there if we need it. It’s that back up that lets us just get on with the job of providing people with great seafood.”
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