Eric's Fresh Fish Market reels in Waynesville location
Seafood enthusiasts can now enjoy the catch of the day at Eric’s Fresh Fish Market’s newest location Haywood County at 90 Depot St., Waynesville.
Owner Eric Hendrix opened his first store 609 Mill St., Sylva, during the summer of 2008 while he was teaching English at Western Carolina University.
“My wife and I both love fish and wanted to eat more,” said Hendrix. “As a kid, my military family lived in the Panama Canal Zone and my dad, a Waynesville native, fished all the time. It was a family experience. I never forgot our outings.”
The shop was originally only open one day a week — fresh fish would arrive in the morning and the shop would remain open until it was sold.
“At first, we were only open Saturday mornings, but as word got out, demand drove us to open more days,” said Hendrix.
The shop’s hours expanded to Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with fresh fish arriving on Thursday morning.
“This way customers know what they're buying arrived fresh that morning or, for Saturday visitors, that what they pick up is still fresh and delicious,” said Hendrix.
A second market, located at 1571 Highlands Road, Franklin, was added, and earlier this year, Hendrix added the downtown Waynesville location.
Seafood for all the markets is purchased exclusively from Inland Seafood in Atlanta, Georgia — the largest provider of fresh fish in the Southeast — and delivered first thing Thursday morning.
“None of our seafood has ever been frozen and thawed prior to sale,” said Hendrix. “Unlike many stores and chains that buy cheap, frozen product from generic or questionable sources, we only buy fresh. And we provide origin information as well.”
Customers can even sign up for Eric’s Weekly Catch! — a newsletter that Hendrix believes is a staple in his business. Every Tuesday, over 3,000 customers receive the newsletter that details what is expected to come in on Thursday morning. They check out the list, email their orders and Hendrix and his staff set aside the first-pick orders Thursday morning when the shipment arrives. Everything else is sold to walk-in customers.
“This service encourages and helps plan meals, guarantees freshness and helps prevent over-ordering and waste,” said Hendrix. “Hold orders make up three-fourths of weekly sales.”
Eric’s Weekly Catch! also promotes the local community.
“We learned early on the gift of supporting other local merchants by promoting local events, businesses and charities in the newsletter,” said Hendrix.
Hendrix believes his prices are competitive, especially for the mountains.
“Our goal is to provide the freshest seafood available at an affordable price,” he said. “Toward that end, our prices run the spectrum of $9.99 a pound and up. A family of four can easily enjoy a healthy dinner for under $20. But we don't compromise price for quality; some items just cost more.”
Eric’s Fresh Fish Market is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. For more information or to sign up for the newsletter visit www.ericsfreshfishmarket.com or call 587-FISH (3474).