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Here at Real Good Fish, we have over a hundred wonderful site hosts who offer community pick-up locations to our members across the country. Their support and dedication in helping us share our love of sustainable seafood with folks like you help us keep local seafood accessible & affordable, enhancing our communities. We're starting a new series where you can meet some of our hosts for a deeper dive into how they became members and some of their favorite stories over the years! This week, we're chatting to Melissa Myers, who hosts our community pickup location at The Good Hop Bar & Bottle Shop in Oakland, California.
How did you learn about Real Good Fish and get started with us as a site host?
The Good Hop is a bar in Oakland, California. We have 16 draft taps and offer around 450 bottles and cans. Last year, when Covid hit, like every other small business on this earth, the crazy word "pivot" became a must in our vocabulary. During Covid, all the bars had closed, and because of our license (which allowed to-go sales), we were able to stay open via an online store and pick up. That, in part, is the sole reason we're still open today. At the time, we were thinking about getting more folks to visit, especially those who may not have known about us before. A friend of ours worked in ocean and water rights and asked if we'd heard of Real Good Fish (an alternative to offering a traditional CSA). Initially, I wondered if it may be weird to bring in a fish pickup, but I thought, "Hey, why, not?!" When we first started, we worked hard to get the word out to our regulars and other folks in the community, and now we have awesome regular members who pick up every week!
Tell us a bit about the kind of people who've joined in picking up their weekly share of fish? Do they buy beer as well?
Yeah, I'd say we have younger people who love to buy beer and some people who have been coming every week and have never purchased a beer. But that's cool; we're honestly happy to see them! We've had a couple who are super beer fans and will come and buy a bottle and ask, "what's coming in from Real Good Fish this week?" They plan out or know what they're cooking with the fish, and they'll buy a specific bottle of beer to go alongside the recipe. It's cool because they'll post about "this beer paired perfectly with the sole I cooked"...it's great to see that sort of natural connection.
How do you like to set things up for your members to pick up? Are they excited to get their seafood and other farm-raised meats and such too?
We get the fish, take it all out, repack it in bags with their name and The Good Hop stamped on it. This way, it's easy to grab and pass along to them when they're coming in to get their share. It's exciting for them and has turned into a routine of planning the whole meal and figuring out what beer they want to grab with it, so they'll come in and chat with us. We love that Real Good Fish offers some other proteins so that you can get beef, meat, or extra seafood items too. They'll say, "I'm stoked to get this extra crab or shrimp," or you know, someone the other day just got pig knuckles, and he was super excited! I was like, "Right on! Make sure you tell me what you do with them!" It's a part of the adventure.
Are you a fish eater yourself, and are you signed up for your own pickup?
I am for sure! We signed up for our pickup and have been really pushing it since we first started. When we first joined as a site host, it was right at the beginning of the pandemic, and so we wanted to help promote as much as possible. We would take it home and cook with it ourselves and then share pictures so people could get a look at the quality and what's coming. We were also hoping that the more people who signed up to pick up fish would hopefully also buy beer! That's been a win-win for us.
Do you feel like you'll continue as a site host as the world looks more hopeful and things are opening back up now? Does it bring value to people in the community in that way?
I will definitely stick with it after The Good Hop fully opens because we'd love to talk to people more about it. Right now, they pick up their beer and their fish (and there's also the people pick up fish and no beer at all.) I think it'd be exciting to be able to have people come in and maybe grab a pint and say, "Hey, what do you think you'll make with your rockfish or petrale sole or ahi tuna?" So we get to have a little bit of a deeper conversation with them. It helps my staff see that and for my bartenders to understand the transparency of what Real Good Fish is doing because they're able to share it with customers and members. They'll say, "Wow, this is local? Where's it from?" It's not like some massive boat either; it's Captain Bob. He's the guy who catches all the good rockfish! That sense of "local and sustainable" is important to us and our customers.
Interested in becoming a site host at your home or business? Learn more & sign up for additional information HERE.