After 42 years of selling fresh fish and seafood to a steady stream of local customers, Nick’s Fish Market, located at the corner of Wood and Bradford streets will close up the retail end of the business.
Although Nick Castigliego has mixed feelings about what it will be like not seeing the customers he calls friends coming into the store, at 71 years of age, he figures it’s time to take a break from the rigors of operating a storefront.
“We decided it’s time to enjoy a little of our retirement years,” Mr. Castigliego said.
To run the family business, Mr. Castigliego has the help of his wife, Joan, and his daughter, Bonnie, who put in the 60 to 70 hour weeks that go along with the retail side of the business.They, too, are looking forward to a slower pace.
The Castigliegos moved Nick’s Fish Market to its current location in 1975. Since then, Mr. Castigliego arrives at 4:30 a.m. to prepare the coolers so when Joan and Bonnie arrive, the store is ready for business. Then, three days a week, Mr. Castigliego will make the drive to Boston where he buys the products the store will sell.
“It’s part of the job. It has to be fresh all the time. I make my rounds at the specialty stores and make the decision every day what we’ll sell,” he said of the Boston treks.
The store remained a success because the Castigliegos made every attempt to keep their customers happy, they said. For 22 years, the store offered fish and chips take-out on Friday and built a loyal following. That part of the business became a little too popular, leaving the staff of three struggling to serve up hot fish and chips while running the fish market.
“People still call in asking for fish and chips,” Bonnie said.
The retail store will close its doors on Saturday, June 14, Mr. Castigliego said. While he said there’s so special significance to the Father’s Day closing, he said the date was more to give his Fourth of July customers a chance to find another place to load up on the steamers, little necks and lobsters that are in high demand for the holiday cookouts.
When the retail part closes, Mr. Castigliego will continue wholesale sales, providing fresh fish and seafood to local restaurants, and putting in about four hours a day.
Although the word has gotten out to only a few customers, the reaction is similar to what they heard when the family decided to stop serving fish and chips, Ms. Castigliego said.
“They say this is their last supper,” she said.
For the Castigliegos, leaving their customers will be the hardest part of closing their doors.
“We’ve met a lot of nice people over the years,” the ever smiling Mr. Castigliego said. “And I got to work with family.”