A bitter war of words between two similar neighboring fishmongers has triggered a verbal blow – in which the older businessman accuses his new rival of copying his company.
Fish Universe in Tooting, south-west London, has hit neighboring competitors Fish World, after it opened just a few months ago.
It claims it is confusing their nearly 20-year-old company and accuses them of copying staff uniforms.
Employees of Fish Universe used to wear blue suits with company name and number on.
And now Fish World, which opened last month, is using what appears to be a very similar uniform to their staff.
It insists it has done nothing wrong and sells various Jamaican and African seafood, and the only reason their outfits are blue is to match the color of the water.
Fuming Fish Universe has now sprayed out to change all their staff uniforms to red to ensure there is no confusion.
The unusual quarrel triggered lots of comments among community groups who saw the disclaimer in the shop window.
One joked: ‘I can not believe they have opened right next door. Lots of seafood from them. ‘
Another added a comment full of puns, saying: ‘They probably love this plaice with their heart and soul. But it looks and smells a bit fishy, all the shops are in the same roe. ‘
To make matters worse, warring firms are Fish Universe and Fish World neighbors
Fish Universe owner Rafa Kashefi, 34, says his neighbors have copied his food business
But Fish Words’ Shaqib Hakim, 48, says his store has done nothing wrong and is not a copy
Fish Universe has come a long way in putting a disclaimer in its window on Fish World
Fish Universe owner Rafa Kashefi, 34, told MailOnline: ‘We’ve had about 60 calls from customers asking what’s going on. Every day we get customers asking us what has happened.
‘Next Door used to be a meat shop until they decided to start selling fish just a month ago.
‘This is the family business. My cousin started it 20 years ago when the first branch opened in Walthamstow – the next one to open was in Fulham, and then we opened.
‘We now have other branches in Sutton, Camden, Croydon, Money and Hounslow.
‘We have had to change all our staff uniforms to red. We have other departments all over London which all still wear blue uniforms but we have had to change ours.
“We’re working really hard to get customers in, but what they’re doing is just creating confusion. ‘ is so similar.
‘We are cheaper than those, we sell ten sea bass for £ 10, but they only sell seven sea bass for the same price.
‘We love business and have great customers. When we opened the store there were not many others in the area. We started from scratch, initially did not make much money, but pulled long days and worked hard to build the business up to what it is now.
Fish Universe claims that Fish World copied these blue uniforms, but the rival denies the claim
Fish Universe says it has been around for almost 20 years, but claims it suffers from rival
Fish World says it is not trying to emulate its neighbors and says it is a completely different company
‘In 2015, we faced competition from one company, but they closed six months later. They were not next door to us. ‘They had complaints from the council and the place stank. But this is different.
‘The message we have outside helps us. A lot of people have read it and posted it on social media. ‘
They have even posted a sign next to the front door warning players that they are a different store than their neighbors.
The ‘important customer announcement’ reads: ‘Fish Universe is not affiliated with Fish World and does not promote, endorse or endorse this store.
‘We will in no way be liable for any special, direct, indirect, consequential or incidental damages or any damages arising out of the use of a Fish World service or product.
‘We are highly qualified fishmongers and we are passionate about fish and the environment.
‘Fish Universe opened its doors in December 2014 with the ambition of bringing the freshest and best quality fish to our customers in Tooting.
‘We have been true to our core values and ensured that every single product we sell is the freshest, best quality available.
The two companies are in Tooting, South West London, and both have blue branding
Fish Universe received a letter from Wandsworth Council over a refrigerator with a fly
Fish Universe claims that Fish World has ticked the fridge, but it denies having committed any wrongdoing over it
‘Fish World is not responsible for any loss that occurs either as a result of the use of a Fish World product or service.
‘We are also not responsible for the accuracy of any information or advice provided to you (by Fish World).’
They also say they were fined £ 400 by the council after they believe Fish World dumped a freezer on the street, but town hall chiefs believe it belonged to the Fish Universe.
They claim the council did not take further action against Fish World.
Shaqib Hakim, 48, who works at Fish World and headed today, told MailOnline that his company had done nothing wrong.
He added: ‘We are a different company with a different landlord.
‘We have different suppliers and many of our fish are Jamaican and African because people want it. They do not do anything about it.
‘Our layout is different and we are trying to do something new and different from them. They think we’re copying them, but we do not. We’re not doing anything illegal.
‘We are blue because the color is associated with the sea and most fish shops are blue or yellow. Universe and world are not the same.
‘I do not have to address them or’ refute ‘anything they have said – everyone has their own businesses. Our layout is different and we also have different suppliers.
‘We’re trying to get more business because there’s a lot of demand for what we do. We also sell meat and groceries, which they do not.
‘Everyone has their own responsibility, and if the freezer belonged to us, then we will be responsible for it, and if we do not, we will not do it. We do not copy, our business is unique. ‘
But at least one Fish Universe customer today had been confused by the similar appearance of the two stores.
He declined to be named, but added: ‘It’s wrong. We thought they were just an extension of this store, but it’s not. It’s shocking. ‘
Sir. Kashefi hopes that any confusion will be cleared up once and for all by the disclaimer in the shop window.
He added: ‘If we do not get the customers, we may not be able to pay staff salaries and that could have a big impact on our business.
‘We are concerned about losing customers and do not want to lose anyone. The whole situation is very stressful.
‘It’s bad for our reputation if they do something wrong and we get blamed for it.’