Charlotte and family: Going swimmingly. Charlotte is the latest in her family to take the plunge in the fish business. Pictured with her dad Mark and grandma Sheila who run G.A Jackson & Son set up by her late grandad Geoffrey Arthur JacksonCharlotte and family: Going swimmingly. Charlotte is the latest in her family to take the plunge in the fish business. Pictured with her dad Mark and grandma Sheila who run G.A Jackson & Son set up by her late grandad Geoffrey Arthur Jackson
Charlotte and family: Going swimmingly. Charlotte is the latest in her family to take the plunge in the fish business. Pictured with her dad Mark and grandma Sheila who run G.A Jackson & Son set up by her late grandad Geoffrey Arthur Jackson

Teenager following in her family’s footsteps to run her own seafood business at Doncaster Fish Market

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A teenager has proved there’s no 'plaice’ like home after following in her family’s footsteps to run her own seafood business at Doncaster Fish Market.

Marsden’s fishmongers - named after original founder Bob Marsden – has for decades treated customers to everything from crabsticks to cockles at the award-winning market operated by Market Asset Management.

And for its ambitious new owner Charlotte Jackson, 19 it’s a case of destiny calling as her dad and grandma run another fish and game business at the market G.A Jackson & Son - established by her late grandfather Geoffrey Arthur Jackson in the Sixties.

In a delicious twist of fate Charlotte has bought her new business from soon-to-be retiring and much-loved fishmonger Nigel Berry who says his own career began when Charlotte’s grandad Geoffrey “taught me how to fillet” taking him on as a schoolboy at the market more than 50 years ago.

Charlotte, who had been working alongside Nigel as his retail assistant will retain his support with the 64-year-old staying on to help until he retires in September next year.

Rebranding the business to Seafood City, the teenager plans to build on the success of the business adding new lines but retaining customer favourites such as current best sellers include salad boxes comprising lobster tails / crab and a “pick and mix” ranging from whelks to prawns.

She has already set up new social media channels which has seen a younger clientele join existing customers and Charlotte wants to add frozen ready meals and seafood kebabs to the menu so people can enjoy the delicious offerings at home too.

Customers can also savour new dishes on site including prawns with a variety of freshly made marinades including chilli, garlic and ginger on either rice, noodles or couscous.

Asked why a teenager would want to become Doncaster Market’s youngest fishmonger, she said: “Some people said I wouldn’t be able to do it and at times it has been stressful. But I am learning all the time and I am glad I've done it. Everything is going well; Market Asset Management have been supportive and the feedback from customers has been great.”

Charlotte’s move into business ownership comes after various roles at Doncaster Fish Market since the age of 13 – from “cleaning trays for my dad” to waitressing at the renowned Clam and Cork restaurant which in 2020 was the only restaurant in Doncaster to be listed in the Good Food Guide.

She said: “I have had other jobs elsewhere but kept being drawn back to the market.

“Doncaster Market is somewhere I have known since I could walk – a different atmosphere compared to a normal workplace – the market is a lot more friendly, it's just a big family really.”

Nigel said he was delighted to be staying on in the short-term as he eyes retirement and had no doubt Charlotte’s grandad would be looking down with a smile on the fateful events.

“It has come full circle as I worked for her grandad. I am like her adopted work Grandad! I think he would approve and be happy. Charlotte has an enthusiasm for it, and I am sure she will be good to carry this firm forward.”

Passing on his tips of the trade and reflecting on changing tastes in the five decades he has worked at the market he added: “The person you are serving at that time needs your full attention, they are the centre of the universe while you are serving them.

“Things have changed. Starting back in the seventies, more and more people started going abroad. They started trying new things, so wanted to have them at home.

“People are willing to try more stuff. I mean, we are now selling baby octopus cups ready to eat and squid and all that stuff. Monkfish costs a fortune these days, but I remember Charlotte’s grandad buying a box full of it in the 70s – he put it on sale on the Friday but had to throw it all away on the Saturday – I remember first seeing Fanny Cradock cooking it on telly. Tastes literally do change.”

Charlotte’s new venture comes as the venue and operators Market Asset Management continues to win plaudits winning

Great British Market Awards judges awarded Doncaster Fish Market the Best Small Food Market title in 2022 with judges praising its “distinct charm” and called it “the future of the town” after noting its quality, affordability, and market managers' commitment to supporting new businesses.

And it is an exciting time for Doncaster Market as a whole.

Last year MAM and Doncaster Council confirmed the iconic and historic Corn Exchange is being restored to its former glory in a multi-million-pound makeover, following a successful funding bid to the Levelling Up Fund.

And the Wool Market continues to grow as a popular place for people to socialise, shop, eat and enjoy events and entertainment. An entertainment zone has opened to complement the Wool Market’s excellent independent street food traders - attracting new customers and encouraging visitors to stay longer.

Seafood City will be open every other Tuesday from 7am to 3.30pm, every Thursday from 8am until 3.30pm/4pm and 7am to 3.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays – see the Facebook page for more details.

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