It was summer 1977 when Dennis Crooks started selling fish direct from Whitby fish market with nothing more than a filleting knife, a filleting bench and a £500 loan from the bank.
Business was brisk and soon Dennis bought new premises on Silver Street in Whitby to cater for the flourishing enterprise. Silver Street soon proved to be inadequate so a new purpose built factory on Whitby's industrial estate was built to cope with the huge demand for Dennis's quality fish.
Fish was ferried from Whitby fish market to the factory in our refrigerated vehicles, where our team of filleters would prepare it to each customers requirements.
Whitby fish is well known for its quality and can be found on menus all over the country. Being the first wholesaler to distribute large quantities of fresh Whitby fish around the country, Dennis has been the driving force behind promoting Whitby fish, giving it the good name it has today.
In the 1980s our team would regularly handle up to 10,000 stone (63.5 metric tons) of whole fish per week, yielding approximately half that weight in saleable fillets. Lorries were sent packed full of our fish to Billingsgate fish Market (London), Lancashire, Merseyside, Coventry and Northampton every night.
In 1988, separate to the wholesale fish merchants, Dennis set up a fish selling agency on Whitby fish market called Independent Fish Sales Whitby Ltd. The boats 'Christanjo' (skipper Jim Leadley Jnr), 'Success' (skipper Peter Leadley) and 'Radiant Morn' (skipper Peter Hansell) were all selling through the agency as well as being shareholders, Dick Brewer was also a shareholder.
Fish was auctioned by Shaun Lyth employed by the company to fetch the best possible price for their quality catch.
Dennis also used to own a fishing trawler called 'The Fairway'. As well as being one of the original members on the Seafish Industry Authority panel, Dennis helped come up with much of the health and hygiene regulations which are still in force today.
Present day things have changed quite a bit, our core business is serving all of the fish and chip shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs, hotels e.t.c up and down the country with fish making its way down to London across to wales and up to Newcastle on a daily basis.
Along came Covid-19... business ground to a halt with the governments announcement that all restaurants, hotels, pubs e.t.c had to close their doors. We decided to temporarily close but wanted to be able to serve the public in a safe manner so here we are with our online shop, we hope you enjoy our products and service.
Dennis, William, Holly and all the team at Dennis Crooks fish merchants.