Next generation joins Grimsby family firm JCS Fish as BigFish Brand pushes on

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 15 May 2017

THRIVING Grimsby seafood firm JCS Fish is celebrating the arrival of the next generation in the business.

Jack Coulbeck, the son of directors Andrew and Louise, has spent two-and-a-half years with the UK’s biggest fish brand – Young’s – a seagull’s swoop from the family outfit.

Now he has left Ross House to become commercial manager at JCS, strengthening the company’s sales function in a year when the business is anticipating continued growth and the launch of a number of new products in its Big Fish Brand salmon range.

A first class honours graduate in accounting and finance, he is now a part qualified CIMA accountant. From a fairly early age he knew he wanted to follow in the family footsteps, but has been given a modern take on the old-fashioned apprenticeship.

He completed a year on Young’s Seafood’s graduate scheme, before being promoted to commercial finance analyst, staying on for another 18 months. 

Proud mum Louise Coulbeck said: “It is fantastic, Andrew and I are over the moon. We need some young blood in the industry. If we look back, the only people left from the days of the old pontoon are descendents from the Stansfield, Jaines and Kirwin families, and us. You don’t get a 40-year-old walking in – the experience and passion is in the bones.

“I am sure we will have a few difficult meetings but it is great to be challenged. Fresh ideas are always welcomed. Years ago merchants would send their sons to other merchants to learn the trade so they weren’t too soft or too hard on their own. It was a great way to get sons into the industry. We have been able to  achieve that with Young’s taking on Jack and giving him that education.” 

MORE: Grimsby seafood processors buck the trend as industry hits eight year high in the town

The appointment comes as the salmon industry settles down after a fraught 2016 for international farming. Chilean aquaculture suffered hard with disease, burdening Britain and Norway with demand pressure, raising prices.

Dad and managing director, Andrew, said: “We were delighted when Jack chose to develop his career in the seafood industry and even more delighted when the opportunity arose this spring for him to join us. We are proud of what we have achieved so far for JCS Fish as an independent family firm and Jack brings some very useful skills to the company.

“As an undergraduate Jack earned his stripes in various production roles at JCS during the summer holidays so he is already familiar with how the business works and well known to the rest of the team. He can look forward to excellent support and mentoring not just from myself and Louise but from everyone else in the business.”

Even with Young’s, Jack would be back for lunch with the Murray Street firm. 

He said: “It was always the plan from a fairly young age to follow my parents. There may have been a time when I didn’t want to go into the trade, if you come on to the docks it can look derelict, with buildings being pulled down, but it is busy and there are lots of big players in Grimsby. 

“It is an exciting, dynamic and complex industry, that’s for sure, and I think many have a very simplistic view, and do not realise how hard it can be.”

Supply volumes, price variants, currency swings and different end markets make it so, with JCS serving wholesale, retail and food service sectors. 

“Since graduating I have concentrated on broadening my business experience and working towards my chartered accountancy status,” he added. “It seemed like a natural next step to come into the family business although in some ways working for the family will probably prove harder than working anywhere else!”

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