FISH is a family affair for a business celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Hutchings Brothers Seafood in Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, was founded by Anthony and Michael Hutchings in 1974 and began selling fish purchased from Billingsgate Market to local hotels.

Now, the business is run by three generations of the Hutchings family and continues to supply Dorset and Hampshire’s hotels and restaurants with fresh fish.

Managing director Simon, Michael’s son, was training to become an accountant but joined the family business aged 16 during the summer holidays, and never left.

He was ‘thrown in at the deep end’ after his father’s death in 1994 and took on the business, which ‘became a massive passion’.

Bournemouth Echo:

Simon said: “At the end of the day, it's all about the family name and that is so important.

“You're so proud of what's been done before you, you want to carry it on, you want to build it.”

His brother, Nick, has been going to the business since he was in a pram, and remembers helping his mum, Carol, with deliveries to the hotels.

“Certain hotels would nick mum's keys and they do stuff to her, hide the van for you and all that sort of stuff,” he said.

“It'd be much more of a laugh back in the day, it's much more serious now.

“I was trapped in the freezer in 1991, front page of the Echo I was.

“[I’ve] just been here all my life. I don't know any different.”

Bournemouth Echo:

Simon’s daughter, Sophie, and son, Bradley, are now a part of the business, with Sophie being appointed a director in April.

Sophie said: “I remember going on Sunday deliveries and going in the little van.

“I used to think it was such a fun adventure. I used to get so excited going with dad on these deliveries as a kid.”

The family credited the business’s longevity to its relationship with both its clients and its staff, priding itself on going above and beyond.

Simon paid tribute to the staff, saying they were ‘unbelievable’ in helping the company through the Covid pandemic, with them deciding to work double shifts to keep it afloat through a difficult period.

“I cannot praise them enough,” Simon said.

Sophie said clients ‘become friends’ when they work with them, and Carol said the family appreciates the loyalty of their customers throughout the years.

Looking forward, the family aim to be providing fish to the area for many years to come.

Sophie said: “[We’ll] try keeping it in the family, bring it down the generations, just keep it going for as long as possible.”