THE man behind Alloa’s new fresh fish shop claims the fishmonger industry that was decimated by larger stores could rise once again.

John Stephen, 58, opened The Fresh Fish Place in the town earlier this month, and says he has already had a “phenomenal” response from locals.

An ex-fisherman himself, he started his business - which he runs with his wife Hazel - after spotting an opportunity to buy his own premises.

He told the Advertiser: “I’d been in sales up until a year past November, then one thing led to another and a fish shop came up in Grangemouth.

“I think it was a miracle that we got it.

“We went into that shop hoping and praying to maintain what was being done, and we doubled it in the first year and couldn’t believe it.”

Since then, the husband and wife duo have opened other fish shops in Falkirk, Bathgate, and now Alloa as well.

With some supermarkets like Tesco planning to axe many of their fresh fish counters following years of dominating over smaller suppliers, John says the opportunity for smaller businesses like his to succeed is there.

Although filling the impending gap in the market was not the intention, he claimed it is something local fishmongers can now capitalise on.

“That was never the plan, but it is now,” he said.

“The supermarkets came in and they killed the fishmongers, as they did a lot of the small shops, and now they’re going.

“We’re just going for it and filling that void.”

In the Wee County, it seems locals are taking notice.

He said: “What a response we’re getting from the public here, and I’d like to say thank you for that as well, but honestly it’s so busy.”

Indeed, the Alloa shop is doing so well that when asked if there could be potential employment opportunities for Clacks residents in future, John confidently replied: “Yea absolutely.”

The Fresh Fish Place is located at 49 High Street.