Even Molly and Zoe love fish and shellfish of all varieties — we always hit up this local hot spot as we know everything is fresh, well-priced and sustainable.
In fact, it’s one of the only independent fish mongers in all of the Fraser Valley and the first Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise certified fish market in the Lower Mainland.
Recently, I’ve had the chance to get to know the store’s owner Heather Jenkins — a hard working Valley mom and former gymnast whose first job at the age of 14, was working in a fish market in Surrey.
In this week’s edition of Coffee With, Heather — a Langley Environmental Protection Society Environmental Hero Award winner – chats with us about the fish business, motherhood and an upcoming event here in ‘the Valley’ that you don’t want to miss.
Heather Jenkins circa late 1997/early 1998, when they were renovating the space to open the business.
Tell us a bit about the history of the 1 Fish 2 Fish Fresh Seafood Market.
While working at the fish market in Surrey through high school, I often thought of becoming a Department of Oceans and Fisheries conservation officer. When I was 22 years old, I had an opportunity to open 1 Fish 2 Fish Fresh Seafood Market. We opened 1 Fish 2 Fish in the location it is in today, on March 13, 1998 (Friday the 13th). Myself along with my then business partner, were one of two fish markets operating in the Valley, by 2000, we were the only remaining fish mongers.
What do you enjoy most about running this type of business?
My customers and our community, hands- down. Serving our customers, catching up on their family news, and providing them with the best seafood makes my day. I enjoy being part of the community — we are fortunate to have a great group of business owners in downtown Langley and I am proud we are able to be a part of it.
What has been the biggest challenge?
In the last few years it has been work/life balance. My husband, Chris and I have a four -year-old son and for years the fish market was my first child. Striking a balance between the needs of my family and the needs of my fish-family are a daily juggle.
How do you juggle motherhood with being an entrepreneur?
My son, Spencer, has been coming to fish market with me since he was six-weeks-old. I structure my days differently now to ensure I am home for dinner and bedtime. Life happens and occasionally he comes to the market when daycare falls through or schedules change. He will start Kindergarten next fall (where does the time go!) and we will adjust our days again for this next adventure.
In addition to selling tasty fish to eat, you have a fish adoption program… can you tell us all about that?
Adopt a Fish provides a home for salmon eggs which are raised in the fish market from late December-April. Customers to the fish market can ‘adopt a fish’ with a donation. Colourful paper fish cut-outs are pasted throughout the store and people can watch the fish develop through each of their phases, not unlike the school-based programs. The fish are then released into the Nicomekl River under the stewardship of the Nicomekl Enhancement Society and their volunteers. To date, we’ve contributed almost $4,000 to the Nicomekl Enhancement Society.
Tell us about your upcoming event (The Sip and Slurp).
We put the fish market in it’s fancy clothes! Five years ago we hosted a small event in November to celebrate sustainable seafood and say thank you to our customers. This year, we are celebrating again but this year our celebration include Chef Ned Bell, the founder of Chefs for Oceans — a cross-Canada sustainable seafood initiative. It is kind of like inviting your friends over, only we have a standing room only party in the Market with wine and craft beer tastings from two B.C. producers.
What would you like to say to encourage people to attend this event? I know Jason and I will be there… with shells on… get it?
Join us! Come discover something new and learn about why making sustainable fish and seafood choices for you and your family is important for our rivers and oceans.
Note: Tickets are almost sold out! To reserve your tickets ($49), call 604-532-5226.
The 1 Fish 2 Fish Fresh Seafood Market is located at 20534 Fraser Highway in Langley City. Follow them on Facebook HERE.