The son of prominent fish vendor Stephen Molly Small who was senselessly killed last September has stepped up to the plate to continue his father’s legacy.
Twenty-six-year-old Stephen Small is a sushi chef at night, but in the day he is managing business at stall #4, at the Bridgetown Fisheries Complex.
Describing the death of his father as a major loss to the fisherfolk, customers, and family members, the new manager of the fish business told Barbados TODAY that running the business was no easy task, but he was determined to get it done, because it is what his father would have wanted him to do.
Small said his father has two older daughters and a younger one.
He is the only son, and was taught the basics of running the business by his father.
“Running a business is not easy,” he admitted.
“I had to come in and learn a lot, because even though I knew some things about the business, I didn’t know it all.
“So I had to come in and learn pretty fast, maintain my chef work, and still try to maintain a social life, at least somewhat. At first, it was a shock to me, but I just told myself I have to do it for my dad,” he said.
The young man said since his father’s death, the business had lost a few customers. But, he stressed that the majority of Molly’s loyal customers were still coming to the stall to purchase their fish.
“I am trying my best to keep his loyal customers and maintain everything that he had, including his boat which is now being repaired.
“It is easy to just sell the boat, and say I got money. But I want to maintain his legacy and continue his business to the best of my ability,” the son promised.
Small was stabbed in the Belleville, St Michael area during a robbery, and died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).
Though the incident happened months ago, Small said it was still fresh in his and his siblings’ minds, and noted that he preferred not to talk about it.
But, the young man did reflect on what he described as a strange conversation he had with his dad days before he died.
“Just before his death he was doing repairs on the boat and I went to him and said ‘hi’. He told me to come and look at the boat. I wanted to know why I needed to look at the boat.
“He told me to just come and look at the boat because when I pass away this is going to be yours. I said to him, ‘man you just talking bare foolishness, what pass away what’.
“So it was just ironic that a couple months later he did pass away and I had to jump in and fill his shoes,” he recalled.
Small said many knew his father as a kind-hearted individual who would often give of his last to help others.
But to Small and his siblings, the fish vendor was the best father in the world who gave his all to ensure that his offspring were well looked after and reached their desired careers.
The chef said one of his older sisters was a lab technician, while the other was a singer, and the youngest one was still at school.
“He had two homes, and I am living in one. So just before he passed I called him and told him the pipe was not working and asked him to get it fixed. He told me he would see what he could do. When I came back home the pipe was fixed. That was my dad. He was really good to us. Anything you wanted, just call dad. Even if it inconvenienced him in any way, he would still do it,” he said.
“But his death was really a shock for us. It is hard on us because we can’t call dad anymore. We use to call dad for anything. The transition is hard.
“Even though I am running the business and trying to be there for my sisters, it is still hard. I have to make sure that my younger sister especially is okay and taken care of,” Small added.
Admitting that he is still learning the operations of the business, Small said while there were other fisher folk offering him advice at times, he was always alert to the fact that the operation was taking place in a market.
“You have to know who to trust, because at the end of the day it is still a business and people are still going to be competing. But my mom helps me because she works in the market. I also have my aunt, and my uncles working here. It is not just me against the world. I have people at my side as I try to continue his legacy. But he was loved by most of the people here.
“I always tell people that this market closes four times a year, but it closed five times last year because of my dad’s funeral. It was a Friday, one of the busiest days in the week. That is to show the type of person my dad was, and all I can do for him is to continue his legacy,” Small said.