Closure of Smith's Seafoods at Blakehurst a blow to fish and chips lovers

End of an era: Craig Smith at Smith's Seafoods, on Princes Highway, Blakehurst.

End of an era: Craig Smith at Smith's Seafoods, on Princes Highway, Blakehurst.

For well over 100 years, the little seafood shop on the northbound side of Princes Highway at Blakehurst has served up fish and chips so good as to attract customers from all over Sydney and beyond.

But, all good things come to an end, and Smith's Seafoods (before that West Seafoods) will close its doors tomorrow (Friday November 26) for the last time.

Typical of the times, the shop site and adjoining properties on Tom Uglys Point will be developed for apartments.

Craig Smith, who has been involved with the shop since he 16 and is now 70, said he was feeling "very sad", but also "burnt out".

Saying goodbye: Dennis Avramis, Craig Smith and Bronson Smith.

Saying goodbye: Dennis Avramis, Craig Smith and Bronson Smith.

"It has been good times every day," he said.

"I have met thousands and thousands of people, and a lot of them are good friends still and regular customers.

"They are encouraging us to reopen somewhere else, but I am ready to retire.

"I start at 4am going to the fish markets and you are on your feet all day."

Mr Smith said his son Bronson, who has worked in the shop for 11 years, "wants to do other things, but he has learnt so much he could re-establish the business at any time".

"Bronson was 18 when he came in to help out for a couple of days, and he got stuck."

Mr Smith and his brother Brett decided to sell after the announcement in 2015 of extended clearway hours on the highway, which took away parking for customers.

While the car park in a nearby park was later expanded, the die was cast.

During the community debate over the clearway decision, Mr Smith wrote to the Leader in response to a letter saying parking for the shop was restricting the traffic flow.

"Our shop was originally built on Woniora Road, Blakehurst, more than 100 years ago," Mr Smith replied.

"The highway moved there once the Tom Uglys Bridge was built in 1929 and the road was then renamed Princes Highway.

"It's not as if we intended to inconvenience anyone."

Craig Smith in 2015 speaking out against the clearway extension move. Picture: Jane Dyson

Craig Smith in 2015 speaking out against the clearway extension move. Picture: Jane Dyson

Mr Smith said , when they sold the site, they expected to be able to continue renting for a longer period, but the ownership changed and they were told to vacate by November 26.

The shop was owned by two generations of the West family before the Smith family acquired it in 1981.

"I met the Wests when I was 16," Mr Smith said.

"My family had an oyster farm in Woolooware Bay and an opening facility with 30 workers at Marrickville," he said.

"Doug West asked me if I wanted to buy the shop and I said to my family, 'This is a good place to continue our business'.

"We sold Marrickville and moved here."

The Smiths also owned the seafood shop on the southbound side of the highway for several years, but sold it in 2011.

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