For the month of February, DELUX Magazine is highlighting black businesses that have been around for a while and even some that have paved the way for businesses that are relevant now.
This week, one of the businesses we’ll be highlighting is Mother’s Fish; a family business that has continued to succeed, grow and get passed down to generations.
DELUX got the opportunity to interview Sean Morris, the current owner of the business name.
DELUX: What is the history behind Mother’s Fish?
Sean Morris: Back in the earl 1980’s, my Aunt Evelyn and Uncle Levert Gordon opened Mother’s Fish on Spring and Olive. They originally were frying fish only on Fridays then they became popular with that, they decided to serve fish on the daily.
DELUX: During that time, were there a lot of black food businesses back then?
Sean Morris: Back then, there was Diner’s Delight, and London & Sons and a few more but back then Mother’s Fish brought something different.
DELUX: What makes your food different than any other business?
Sean Morris: Well my family comes from Mississippi and so the southern cooking style is different than any other coast, so my family used that different style of cooking with their fish and brought it to St. Louis.
DELUX: How did you learn the ropes of the business? Did you work in the store growing up?
Sean Morris: When I was younger, I was always around it and my family owned multiple businesses while I was growing up, so I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, so I went to college, studied business and came back home to help take over the family business.
DELUX: What other locations have you and your family had in the past?
Sean Morris: We’ve had multiple locations throughout the St. Louis area and East St. Louis, but the most we’ve had open at once was 4 locations.
DELUX: Was it hard managing those four locations?
Sean Morris: While my aunt and uncle continued to run the original location, I had three of my own, which were the old Northlands Plaza, Natural Bridge & Newstead and 10th & Locust and Yes, it was a lot to handle.
DELUX: Would you like to keep the businesses open or do you think it’s served its purpose and you wouldn’t mind shutting it down eventually?
Sean Morris: If the community will continue to support us then I would love to stay in business. We have two locations now, my nephew Touissant has the location in Clayton and my cousin Fred has the location on Grand & St. Louis Ave.
DELUX: With your nephew and cousin operating both locations, do you have a say-so in the decisions made for the business?
Sean Morris: Yes, I own the trademark for the name Mother’s Fish. We work together on menu items and prices.
DELUX: What does your business and even you, do to give back to the community?
Sean Morris: In the past, we’ve done giveaways for Christmas and Mother’s Day. I personally volunteer and coach with the St. Louis Blues Track Club. I also own property and most of my residents are single mothers. We adopted a single mother of 5 this past Christmas who moved in with nothing and we bought them all beds. We usually like to give back to the community in silence.
DELUX: What do you think is missing in the community?
Sean Morris: Supporting small businesses; St. Louis is oversaturated with small business restaurants and it’s not enough people to support the businesses in certain areas, so I believe the lack of support is missing.
DELUX: How important do you think it is to own a business and be an entrepreneur?
Sean Morris: It should be more encouraged, but it’s born into some people. It was my goal since I was kid to be a business owner but it’s nothing wrong with a 9-5 job. I think everyone has their own lane.
DELUX: Do you have any last words that you want everyone in the community to know?
Sean Morris: Continue to support, not just us at Mother’s Fish but all black businesses. More people should compete on how much they help others. The world will be better place If we did that.
Make sure you visit both of the locations:
Mother’s Fish; 2738 N Grand Blvd, St. Louis, Mo 63106 and their Clayton Location; 6 S Central Ave, Clayton, Mo 63105