Stoney the Fishmonger; how’s that for a great business name? But when it comes to getting customers through the door of this Toowoomba store, owners, Robert and Megan Stone, haven’t stopped there. Since starting out three years ago, they have grown their business 30% every year through a combination of fantastic produce and customer service, clever marketing, and a keen focus on what’s happening in the wider hospitality and retail sector. After downloading Silver Chef’s Hospitality Industry Success Index (HISI) – an annual report containing invaluable tips and tricks for people in the hospitality industry – they went in the running to bag $2,000, and won!
“The trending data in the report really helped. It’s a pretty tough environment for retail at the moment,” says Robert. “With the winnings, I think I’ll buy myself a new set of golf clubs! Actually, in all seriousness we’re just about to chase down finance to do a major renovation so, in a small way, that money will help us to get the ball rolling.”
Toowoomba, a rural town of around 100,000 people, located in south-western Queensland, might not seem the most likely place for a fishmonger but that didn’t stop the Stones from giving it a go. “It’s not near the coast so one of the things we do is work very, very hard to make sure we provide a coastal seafood experience. We open our own oysters, shell all our own crabs, cut our own fresh fish, and generally do all the things that a fishmonger would do. We also have a takeaway section, and share our recipes on Facebook, our website and via email. It draws a little on the whole phenomenon of Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules; people are really interested in doing things for themselves.
“I used to work as an area manager for a large food services distributor, but I wanted to get out of the corporate environment and work for myself for a change. I didn’t know a whole lot about being a fishmonger, but I grew up fishing and crabbing, and decided there was a bit of a niche for seafood in Toowoomba.
“We rent four or five items from Silver Chef. Renting was great for us when we started out because we didn’t have a lot of disposable income. The finance arrangement is fantastic, and we’re now in the process of actually buying the equipment through Silver Chef’s Rent.Try.Buy model.”
Given their success, does Robert have any tips for other people in the hospitality industry? “Yes. Focus on quality. If you focus on quality, the rest falls into place.”
Stoney the Fishmonger
Phone: 07 4639 4711
Cnr Herries & Hume Street, Toowoomba QLD