“It all started with an idea to sell seafood at the Mackay showground markets”.
Debbie and Mark Ahern are in a fortunate place. They own a thriving seafood retail business, employing approximately twenty loyal and valued staff and in their own way, are innovators of the seafood retail industry in Central Queensland.
Life was not always so abundant however…
For five long years Debbie and Mark were commercial fishers. They spent every waking moment trawling the north Queensland seas in search of fish, prawns and crabs desperately trying to bring in the biggest and best catch possible. They then sold their haul to seafood restaurants and fresh fish markets. Available fish stocks and ever-fluctuating competitive market prices governed their lives.
Fortunately for the Ahern’s and for the residents of Mackay and surrounding areas, the days of battling the worst of Mackay weather on the high seas are now over. The times of sleeping on beaches being eaten alive by sandflies are finished. Although the hardest of times are long gone the lessons learned by Debbie and Mark have been invaluable.
Having been at the blunt end of the industry, they know what is like to search in vein and come home empty handed. Equally they have experienced the elation that comes with netting a quality catch knowing the joy it will bring families at the dinner table.They know that ‘Local and Fresh’ is not just a motto; it’s a lifestyle. The Ahern’s industry experience provided an intimate knowledge of what is quality seafood and what is not. It taught them to respect their produce and handle it with great care ensuring its quality was maintained.
Debbie obtained her seafood retail license and began selling some of the catch out of a small truck at the Mackay markets. With a strong commitment to service, the idea of selling fresh seafood to the masses struck a cord with many loyal customers.
Debbie and Mark knew that locals wanted quality, convenience and were street smart when it came to seafood. The business grew and is now a major and well respected enterprise in the Mackay region. Debbie’s Seafoods is based at a seafood shop of the same name in Slade Point, Mackay.
Here the daily fish catch is filleted, prawns and crabs are cooked and mussels marinated.
The enterprise is probably best known however for the fleet of seafood trucks roaming the countryside from Mackay to Hay Point, Moranbah, Farleigh, Marian and Dysart.
They have become iconic. They are part of the Mackay landscape. They have a cult following. When Mackay residents think local fish market, they think Debbie’s Seafood!
Debbie and Mark know they are in a fortunate place. They are proud of their hard work and what it has produced. They are thankful for their customers and their opportunities. Most of all, they love their seafood.