One of the arguments often used by betting shops to justify their proliferation in areas such as Deptford is that having a betting shop is better than having an empty shop unit. Whether this is true in any circumstances is arguable, depending on your opinion of what benefit betting shops offer to the community.
However long-term empty units is not a problem that Deptford High Street is prone to. In fact at the moment I think the only unit that has been empty for a long time is the former Halifax, for which Betfred is waiting to hear the results of its appeal.
The latest unit to be filled was open for business yesterday; My Fish. It's a cavernous shop and has been lovingly (and rather slowly it's true) fitted out with shiny stainless steel and jazzy lighting that would seem more at home in an bar than a fish shop.
The front part of the shop has a huge counter of wet fish and live crustaceans, many of which were unfamiliar to me, stretching about half the way down the shop along one wall. Down the opposite wall are huge racks holding packets of dried and smoked fish and shrimps of various types as well as African foods such as egusi seeds.
The back of the shop has several rows of freezers stocked full with whole frozen fish of many different varieties, large catering packs of clams in their shells, squid in rings or whole, boxes of octopus and all manner of other fish and shellfish.
A hard sell was going on yesterday when I drifted past; half a dozen staff tasked with getting the punters in and then getting them to purchase - the huge spread of wet fish was certainly getting a lot of interest, particularly from Deptford's African and Vietnamese shoppers.
As a rather unadventurous fish eater myself, it's unlikely I'm going to desert Codfather's for My Fish, particularly since the kind of purchases I usually make - smoked haddock, skate wings, smoked salmon etc - aren't sold by My Fish. Some of the shellfish look interesting though and might tempt me in now and then.
Or if anyone has any recommendations or recipes I could try for something a bit more adventurous, please feel free to leave them in the comments!
Meanwhile I see local artist Sarah McIntyre was also down there taking a few photos; see her take on My Fish here.