If you’ve ever driven by the Everett Arena about midday on a Friday, you’ve likely seen Kristin Sanders sitting in her truck in the parking lot, selling fish and lobsters to loyal capital area customers. What started as a PR scheme 33 years ago for the Portsmouth-based Sanders Fish Market, Sanders’s weekly Friday trip to Concord has become a major part of the company’s profit.
With “easily” 100 customers each Friday, Sanders’s truck has become a fixture for Concord’s most fish-frenzied residents.
In the summers, Sanders, who herself has been driving to Concord on Fridays for more than 20 years, also drives her truck to Concord on Saturdays for the Concord Farmers Market.
So how does a fish truck in Concord, where no fish market or other type of business has really been able to stick around, last?
Sanders says that, like her family’s fish business, the Concord fish truck works simply because she has earned such a positive reputation in the Concord area. “People just trust me.”
This trust has led to a lot of customer loyalty as well, and in Sanders’s estimation, about 70 percent of her Concord customers are regulars who visit the truck every single week.
“I don’t necessarily know them all by name,” she said. “But I know exactly what they usually get.”
“Scallops today? Half pound?” she asked as one customer walked up to her truck last Friday. Hit the nail on the head.
The company has been owned and operated by the Sanders family since Sanders’s father, Earle, bought it in 1954, beginning the Sanders Lobster Company. In 1987, the same year Earle’s son (and Kristin’s brother) Jim bought the fish market, the lobster pound expanded to include fish for the first time. In 1992, Sanders jumped from the lobster pound to the fish market and soon found herself driving around in the truck.
“No one else wants to do it,” she said. “I wouldn’t be in my truck unless I loved it.”