In 1989 the three generations of family came together to open Samtass, named after my Uncle Sam and my father, Tass.

Michael Andonas, Samtass

My family has been involved in South Australia’s fishing industry since 1936. In 1924 my grandfather, Tom Andonas, migrated to Australia from the island of Rhodes, Greece. He eventually settled in South Australia and started buying fish from the local fishermen at Port Adelaide and selling it from a pushbike, going door to door and then to restaurants.  In 1939 Tom teamed up with his brother to open a fish retail café in Adelaide and in 1942 he opened his own café selling fish where the Hilton Hotel now stands.  In the 1950’s my father and my uncle joined him in the business and in the 1970’s and 1980’s my cousin Mark, my brother Anthony and I came on board.  In 1989 the three generations of family came together to open Samtass, named after my Uncle Sam and my father, Tass.  The first few years were a hard slog but also shared with a lot of camaraderie and good times.  We worked long hours, seven days a week.  My dad and uncle were the backbone of the business and we wanted to build up a retail business that is open to the public every day and a wholesale trade for South Australian restaurants and retailers.

In our second year of operation we started hiring help with processing the fish and some of our original staff and their families are still working with us today.  Now our staff work a few different shifts; the staff who set up the store get here at 7:00am and the filleters start at 8:00am.  Depending on the time of year and what fish we’ve got, we usually move to close down the back areas around 3:00pm.

My work day starts early.  I am usually up at 4:30am and get to SAFCOL around 5:30am to prepare for the day’s auctions.  We sell fish supplied by fishermen from other states at SAFCOL and our local wild caught fish is purchased at their auctions.  I am back at Samtass by 9:00am to oversee the unloading and distribution of the day’s purchases.  Pre-orders are sent out and the day’s catch is processed, ready for sale to the public in our retail store and outdoor cafe.

We started buying fish from other parts of Australia to cater to chefs coming from interstate and now specialise in wholesaling as well as retailing interstate and local wild caught Southern Australian fish species.  With our local wild caught fish species, fishing is seasonal and so prices vary each day, based on auction prices at SAFCOL.

I love working in the Industry and the people I meet along the way.  My favourite memories are of how much my two girls enjoyed working in our store over school holidays, serving customers coming in to buy our local fish at Christmas and Easter.

 Suite 27, 6-8 Todd Street, Port Adelaide SA 5015