From Palace Fish Shop To Seafood Palace
Please allow me to bide your time with a short but very touching legend, it is about a young Portuguese man who in his village was known as “Pesado” which in English could be translated to the word “Heavy”.
He came to South Africa and soon was considered a Godfather for many a married couple and also to those who worked for him. He was a very giving person and as a result of this more than 90% of the people who worked for him ended up as successful entrepreneurs who at the end of the day had their own fish and chips shops and they were very successful.
Pesado was born on a small island called Madeira in a village called Camacha and at the age of 19 he set out on a quest to find his father, whom he had never had the privilege of knowing or seeing as his father had left the island just before his birth, all he knew was that he went by the name of: AIRES FERREIRA Luckily he knew that he would not battle to find him as his father had started the first cane furniture factory in Cape Town. Soon thereafter he felt it was time to move on and he found another job at a take-away. This would not only be his career, but his home as well in order for him to be able to cut costs.You must understand, he also had a gorgeous lady waiting for him in Madeira who was biding the time before he would be able to bring her to South Africa so that they could be together once again, this was a major factor in needing to keep his costs to the minimum in order to make their dream come true and they could be wed.
I clearly recall the stories he would tell about a customer which he had, this man would give him a tip of 2 cents every week and believe it or not, this was equivalent to a quarter of his weekly wage. After having worked diligently for many hours, weeks and months, finally he was offered another job at Junction Road Fisheries in Salt River, this meant that he was able to move to the renowned District Six where he was able to share a room with eight other people. With Divine Intervention and the Grace of God this became the turning point for a humble man who was willing more than 15 hours a day and then still some overtime, he worked Sundays and all of this for a very meager salary, dedication was his strong point and that is what made him great.
Then in 1955 he stumbled upon an opportunity, there was a FISH & CHIP SHOP which was up for sale, he pleaded with his current employer to help him finance the buying of the shop, but this was futile, he was out of luck. This however did not deter his inner determination, he managed to find a partner who was willing to put up the finances, but who wanted nothing to do with the physical work which was involved. My father grabbed the opportunity with both hands, he had never been afraid of work in his life and he saw the gift which was being handed to him. It was at this point which he and his partner bought the PALACE FISH SHOP, which very soon became the most popular FISH SHOP outlet in Cape Town. It went well, but about 2 years later Aires partner had had enough and he wanted out at which stage he offered his share in the shop to Aires, needless to say it was a no brainer and Aires jumped at the opportunity. So in 1957 Aires was now the sole owner of PALACE FISH SHOP. I recall that as a young boy it was my duty to pack the window full of bread rolls and French loaves( Drumsticks). It would be packed so high because we would order 120 dozen of each and by the end of the day we would be sold out. This became my duty at the age of 5 years of age and this type of order would be placed every Friday and Saturday, this was accompanied with my other duty of packing the juice fridge and where I consider my real schooling to have started at PALACE FISH SHOP.
My Father taught me well, no time to play, always be prepared, polite, clean, service is very important and don’t compromise. "Quality my son", I can still hear him say and this is what I teach all my staff at all our branches, so this is my Guarantee, so if you are not satisfied you are welcome to give me a call:
A mentor of mine recites something along these lines which I have personalized to my needs and I feel it should be true for us all, so read it, internalize it and make it your own:
"I am not on this earth by chance, I am here for a purpose and that purpose is not to shrink into a grain of sand but to grow into a mountain and on this mountain I will build my PALACE, because the SEAFOOD I serve my customers is of the best quality which can be served for KINGS and QUEENS and that is my guarantee to you my FRIEND."