Central Fish Bar is a traditional fish and chip shop in the town of Ossett, West Yorkshire which has been serving the local community for 30 years. Nestled within a historic market precinct, the shop honours everything which makes traditional fish and chips a steadfast icon of British culture. A staple for the town’s residents, the shop had been owned by local man Steve Foster since its establishment.
As a younger man, the new owner Ryan Butterworth worked in one of Steve’s shops where he learned everything about the cuisine and the marketplace: “I used to work with the fella that owned it when I left school, everything that I know now is what Steve knew. When I finished education I became a wagon driver, working away all week Monday to Friday. I got sick of being away all the time so I spoke to Steve and as luck would have it he’d bought another shop and he was looking to sell the one in Ossett.”
After chatting with Steve, Ryan looked at possible financing options to buy the business from Steve. It was at this point that Ryan reached out to AskIf. After a short and easy application process, AskIf was able to set up Steve with a CBILS loan for £35,000 to enable him to secure the funds to keep this community business operating.
Speaking on how his customers have reacted to coronavirus, Ryan said: “The customer base has changed a lot. Before lockdown many were elderly people, it’s different now, mostly takeaway (which is no surprise!) Fish and chips is traditional British takeaway, easier, quick and convenient. In and out usually with no fuss, I think people are falling back in love with it! People appreciate the continuity when so much else is uncertain.
Talking on the implications of COVID-19, Ryan commented: I’ve managed to reach out to a new customer base. The regulars are coming, just not as often. Once it’s all blown over if I can still hold on to my new customers as well as my old ones, that’ll be great for business. I’ve been self employed for four years so I’m used to the gamble and dealing with accounting and making things happen.”
Ryan’s advice to other people looking at making the leap: “If you believe in yourself and you’ve got the tools to do it then go for it. It’s a big jump to go from being employed to self-employed, you’ve got to dive into the deep end and make it happen. Otherwise you’ll always just be wondering.”