Updated: Aug 12, 2019
A fish and chip shop owner from Accrington, Lancashire, has found his business name appearing on national television most weekends after sponsoring his jockey son’s breeches.
Mark Russell, owner of Henry Street Fish & Chips, put his logo on the trousers of his 21-year-old jockey son, Harry, six months ago, and with the youngster competing in several televised races a week, the shop name can be seen on Sky Sports Racing and ITV regularly. The latest race took place at the weekend in Newcastle where Harry finished seventh, a race that was broadcast on Sky Sports Racing and watched by thousands.
Mark comments: “It’s great PR not just for my shop, but for fish and chips in general. How often do you see fish and chips advertised on national television?”
Since sponsoring the breeches, Mark has seen his shop get busier and busier and recommends others look for ways to market their business.
He says: “We’ve got so much competition now from the likes of McDonald’s, Costa Coffee and KFC that we need to do our bit to drive the customers in. I truly believe that part of the fish and chip experience is queuing up, having a bit of banter and serving good quality food.
“The amount of people that come in and say “I saw your chippy on the tele the other day, I didn’t realise that was your son”. It genuinely brings people in and creates a talking point. I would say to other fish and chip shops to look around and see what you can sponsor, whether it’s local boards, sports kits or tracksuits, there’s always something you can do to get fish and chips out there.
“After all, fish and chips is the nation’s favourite takeaway and we’ve got to be doing more to market that and keep it that way.”
An ex-potato supplier, Mark bought Henry Street seven years after walking in to deliver six bags of spuds. Since then he’s added new items to the menu including salt and peppered battered chips, invested in loyalty cards and, to keep the banter going, had a mural painted featuring a host of famous actors and singers including Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and John Wayne.
Mark comments: “You’ve got to keep thinking of new ideas, new ways to market your business and reasons for people to come to you. When the shop’s full, I get the customers to try and guess all the people in the painting. There’s always someone that they can’t name. It gets everyone talking and guessing, plus it buys me an extra two minutes, which is a long time in a busy fish and chip shop!”