A POPULAR family business in Lymington has announced it is closing after 25 years of supplying locally-caught, fresh shellfish.
S&J Shellfish posted on Facebook on Wednesday that it was shutting down, saying: “It is with a sad regret and a very heavy heart that this is our last day of trading today. The company will be closing at 1.30pm.
“The end of an era. As many of you know, myself and my sister were going to restart a new company and carry on but this is not going to happen. Thank you for all your custom over the last 25 years and love and best wishes to you all.”
Sharon Turner helps runs the business – based at Snooks Farm, Snooks Lane, Walhampton – with sister Tracey Spence and their grandmother.
Sharon told the A&T: “We had to take this very reluctant decision following the death of our father in November, and unforeseen circumstances.
“It is very sad as this is very much a family business and had carried on the heritage of the Mitchell fishing business. We will miss our customers very much.”
Lymington fisherman Dave Mitchell, who died in November 2018, fished the Solent for almost 50 years. His first wife Kay used to sell his catch on the town’s market and from the kitchen window of a house in Portmore.
Mr Mitchell, who was known to local fisherman as Hogan, grew oysters and clams in the Beaulieu River where he held a licence.
He bought Snooks Farm in 1990 where he set up S&J Shellfish which he ran with his family. He remarried in 1991 to Joan who also became involved in the business.
After the shock announcement of the closure of the business, many customers reacted with sadness. One said: “We miss buying my lobster, so sad, an end of an era.”
Another wrote: “We’ll really miss out regular excursions to Snooks Lane. And we’ll miss the other fish and crabs of course. Sad to see a local industry disappear. We will miss them.”
One agreed: “Very sad news, best crab and lobster we have ever had. A big loss to the south. Nowhere now to find good quality well priced fresh seafood.”