Moree has lost one of its biggest and most prized catches after SK Seafood owner Steve Rutherford officially announced his retirement from the business on Wednesday.
“I’m going to miss all the people and friends I’ve made in Moree. The town is full of very down to earth people. I’ve had so many customers give me a bottle of wine because they’re sad to see me go,” Steve said.
The Yamba-local has been travelling to Moree every week for 14 years, carting the freshest quality seafood in his fish truck.
“I started my business in 2004 because I understood how difficult it is for regional towns to get their hands on quality seafood. I wanted to supply the west with good seafood,” he said.
From salmon to prawns, Steve has sold all the monsters of the sea from the back of his truck.
“I’ve never seen a town that likes salmon and prawns as much as Moree,” he laughed.
The truck was originally set up outside Zennas on the corner of Albert and Balo Street, however Steve had to relocate to the back of Supercheap Auto on Frome Street after the store’s closure. He admitted he was a bit worried he would lose customers with the move.
“At the time, I thought a lot of customers would just assume that I had left Moree for good. But then they all followed me to my new location. It’s amazing to see Moree has been so appreciative of my business.”
It’s that kind of appreciation that spurred Steve to make the 1, 200 km round trip through Moree on Wednesday, Inverell on Thursday and Grafton on Friday. Though, Steve admits the train engine is now out of steam.
“I’m just over the long drives and early mornings and long days. I’m ready to start the next chapter in my life,” he said.
Steve plans to enjoy the first four weeks of his break on a caravan trip around Australia. Afterwards, he’ll take what comes his way.
“Maybe there’s a career change for me. I’ll see what happens,” he laughed.
As Steve intends to take his time to smell the roses, Mark Horton has taken over the reins of the business. Steve said he couldn’t have chosen a better person.
“I am confident Mark is going to do well. He has been in the seafood industry for a long time, managing his own fish and chip shop,” he said.