Food/Drink Dec 21, 2012
As a child in Hawai’i, my dad and I would go to fish markets weekly. This frequency made me rather knowledgeable about fish. In search of a fish market in Salem, I was recommended to Fitts’ Seafood, located on 1555 12th Street SE, a mile south of Willamette University. I walked there from campus and when I entered, the smell of salt water and fish greeted me. To my inner child, I was back home in O’ahu. Inside, a “fishmonger”, or skilled fish butcher, helped me immediately. I told him that I was at the market as an assignment for my class; I received a grand tour and permission to ask the staff to move if they obstructed my view for photographs. This gesture of courtesy showed me that the folks at Fitts’ weren’t concerned about money, but making sure that each customer had a great experience.
It is clear to see that Fitts’ and my favorite fish market back home have two important things in common: customer service, and freshness of product. Back home, my dad and I knew a fishmonger, whom I knew as “Aunty”. Once, I pointed to each fish being sold and she told me all the information about each fish. The fishmonger at Fitts’ did the same thing for me. He guided me to a cheap, high quality cut of fish, which saved me around ten dollars; I thought to myself, “What great service!” Fitts’ will now be my main fish market that I go to while at Willamette. These fishmongers at Fitts’ are now family to me.
I know that if Salem didn’t have Fitts’, Salem would lose a very vital part of its rich history. Old places such as Fitts’ Seafood add a cultural significance to Salem. Since opening in 1901, there have been multiple generations of fishmongers helping many customers in the exact way that I was helped. They add a standard of excellence to the community of Salem with outstanding products and the way they take care of everyone. This dedication makes us feel like family, not customers. Owner Rod Purdy said that, “I’ve been waiting on the same people for generations” (Hobbs). Much like “Aunty”, Rod has served generations of families, making him a very vital part of Fitts’ Seafood and the community of Salem.
Hobbs, Evan. “Seafood Store Spawns into South Salem.” WillametteLive.Com. Willamette Media. Web. 17 Nov 2012.
By Melvin Miyashiro, 10/20/12