Shetland has a fish van again after one of the drivers of Hunters vans decided to give it a go after the firm quit doing the rounds last month.
Burra-based Danny Kenmure was out on the road again earlier this week with one of the familiar dark blue vans but will get up-and-running properly from next week. He is leasing the vehicle for a trial period to see how it goes before deciding whether the business can be viable despite the high transport costs.
Hunters had to give up its van operation after 20 years because it was losing money. Mr Kenmure is “99 per cent sure” he can make the fish and groceries business pay.
The former TV engineer from Motherwell moved up about a year ago when his wife took a job as consultant midwife. He is brimming with enthusiasm for the task ahead. “I’m going to give it a right good go,” he told The Shetland Times yesterday. “It depends on the amount of customers I can get.”
To help boost his chances he has a website created for him by friend and neighbour Janice Pottinger where people can ask for visits to their area (type http://dafishvan.co.uk in your browser).
Mr Kenmure is still sourcing his fish from Hunters in Scalloway and he said he has their backing. “Gibbie and Andrew are giving me all their support because they want it to work for their customers as well.”
Over the coming weeks he will be reorganising the familiar routes to cover as much as possible of what the two-van operation used to do.
The van’s return has already been welcomed in Unst, Aith and Vidlin where former customers were able to get their fresh fish again this week before a turbo-pipe problem put the van in the garage.
Customers also enjoy the visits for the banter and for some of the customers in remote areas it provides social contact with the outside world. When it stopped there were some customers literally in tears at the loss.
Having previously worked on the van with Hunters for three months he knows what to expect. “I love a good blether as well,” he said. “The people are absolutely brilliant.”