Ireland’s best seafood retailers are honoured at BIM Awards ceremony

Anne Stephens crowned the first female winner of the BIM Young Fishmonger competition

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Seafood Development Agency, has announced the winners of the BIM Young Fishmonger competition and the winners of its inaugural Seafood Retail Business Award at an awards ceremony, hosted by food writer and entrepreneur Domini Kemp, held in the Wineport Lodge, Glasson, Athlone, Co Westmeath.

Anne Stephens of The Fish Market, Maynooth and Scott Smullen of Dunnes Stores, Cornelscourt, are the winners of the 2018 BIM Young Fishmonger competition. Anne took the title in the Independent category while Scott was crowned winner in the Supermarket category.

Meanwhile, Lar McCarthy of The Fresh Fish Shop in Bandon and Daniel Drwal of Tarpey’s Super Valu in Cavan were the successful winners in the Independent and Supermarket categories for the Seafood Retail Business Award.

Speaking at the awards event, Jim O’Toole, BIM’s Chief Executive said: “Now in its fifth year, the BIM Young Fishmonger competition has recognised and rewarded talented individuals across the Independent and supermarket retail sector and in doing so, has promoted the industry showcasing an exciting and dynamic sector that is capable of significant growth. We are delighted at the extremely high standards in this year’s competition and it is great to see our first female winner, emphasising the diversity of the sector. With retail sales up 4% this year to €245 million, the inaugural Seafood Retail Business Award focuses on the business opportunity for seafood providing mentoring to candidates to develop their entrepreneurial capacity and serve as a catalyst for further growth in the domestic market”.

BIM Young Fishmonger 2018

Anne Stephens is the first woman to win the BIM Young Fishmonger competition. An experienced and talented fishmonger, Anne along with her husband George Stephens, who won the 2016 competition, are a winning team with three successful retail outlets in Blanchardstown, Mullingar and Maynooth.

Scott Smullen’s excellent customer in-sight and in-depth knowledge of the seafood industry saw him crowned winner of the Supermarket Seafood Counter category in this year’s competition. Scott, who works in the recently revamped Dunnes Stores, Cornelscourt, began his career working on commercial fishing boats. Due to his fishing background, Scott has an extensive knowledge of seafood and a real passion for the industry which drives a loyal customer base in store.

The judging for the annual Young Fishmonger competition is comprehensive including mystery shopper visits and a practical skills test with all finalists under pressure to fillet and prepare a range of seafood to a high standard under time constraints. Both Anne and Scott impressed the judges with exceptional customer service, seafood knowledge and precision knife skills. In addition to the sought after title of ‘BIM Young Fishmonger 2018’; Anne and Scott will further improve their knowledge of seafood with a trip to Cornwall in England, where they will undertake a two-day cookery course at award-winning chef Rick Stein’s cookery school. BIM will also provide tailored business mentoring training to both winners.

Seafood Retail Business Award 2018

The Seafood Retail Business Award was established to identify and acknowledge those with the best seafood business skillset. It also strives to facilitate shop owners and managers in the sector to innovate and improve the management of their businesses.

Lar McCarthy, who runs The Fresh Fish Shop in Bandon, was praised by the judges for diversifying his business as well as successfully and creatively marketing his products. Innovative thinking, new branding, a strong social media presence and a successful lunchtime trade of hot seafood dishes cooked by a chef instore were some of the many items that impressed the judges.

Daniel Drwal has seen his career progress in Tarpey’s SuperValu, Cavan, where he has significantly increased fish sales. Daniel’s obvious passion for the product, keen business acumen, strong community involvement and staff development mean that Tarpey’s have become widely regarded as a destination seafood retailer. 

Both winners of the Seafood Retail Business Awards demonstrated an ability to combine strong business acumen with a passion for and understanding of seafood.  Their award is a comprehensive business support package, designed to help the winners grow their business further into the future.

Pictured left to right at the BIM Young Fishmonger 2018 awards are BIM CEO Jim O’Toole, Scott Smullen, Anne Stephens and Domini Kemp

Pictured back to front row at the BIM Young Fishmonger of the Year awards are Lar McCarthy and Daniel Drwal

Pictured back to front row at the Seafood Retail Business Award 2018 are Lar McCarthy and Daniel Drwal