Rarely sees people under 30 in his store and is closing shop in Höfðabakki
“It was the best-selling fish shop in the country for eleven years,” says Kristján Berg Ásgeirsson, who many people immediately associate with the fish stores Fiskikóngurinn or the Fishing King. He is closing his fish store in Höfðabakki 1 today. He says he is almost flabbergasted when people under thirty appear in the store and says that pizzas have taken over seafood when it comes to the young generation.
“My soul is in there, it is buried in the basement of Höfðabakkinn, so there’s a lot of emotion today,” continues Kristján, who will now focus on bringing fresh fish to the counter of the Fish King’s Shop on Sogavegur.
"Can't let my people go"
“I’m focusing on the positive and think it bright ahead,” Ásgeirsson says. “I’ve been struggling with mental illness due to workload and stress, and that’s part of the business. Even though I’m not comfortable with having to close the Höfðabakki location, I’m relieved to get rid of one problem,” he says.
Ásgeirsson employs 24 people and he is asked if he doesn´t have to let some of them go with the closing of the fish store in Höfðabakki.
“No,” Kristján answers, “I have three regular employees working at Höfðabakki and when there’s been little fish, I’ve been sending girls up to fry fish patties and help out, but I’m just planning on increasing sales down on Sogavegur, even though not everyone can be there. I can’t let my people go, that is just not part of the picture,” he says firmly.
The pizza generation
“Everybody knows that the pizza generation has arrived. It’s not normal for the country to have more pizza joints than fish shops. More pizzas are being sold and for higher amounts than fish. We are not a fishing nation anymore, we are a nation of pizza,” says the fish merchant who remembers different times in this regard.
Ásgeirssn considers it a great shame to import thousands of containers of food when Iceland has all the abundance of great food right here. Almost all the vegetables can be made in Iceland, with geothermal heat. “What are we importing all these things for? I don't understand this," the fish merchant says.