Fish City was born out of a need for specialty fishing stores in the Waikato.
Sportfishing was starting to gain popularity in the early 90’s and anglers needed a one-stop shop.
Ross Christensen was a car mechanic, Kevin Taylor worked in retail, and Jono Hewson was the local outboard mechanic. All 3 of them shared the same passion – fishing, and were relatively known to each other. After realising they shared the same idea, Fish City was more than a dream – it was a plan.
After only a few short months from the initial idea, Fish City opened in Hamilton on October 1st 1992, with Ross as the General Manager, Kevin as the Showroom Manager and Jono as the Workshop Manager.
To say thanks to their loyal customers and for all the support, the Fish City Club Card was created. Club Card holders received discounts, newsletters, and invitations to seminars and get-togethers.
Boating & Outdoors:
In 1995, Fish City joined MarineLink (now known as Boating & Outdoors) buying group to expand their reach of products and service, and moved into a new and bigger location.
Fish City had become household name, as far as Waikato fishermen were concerned.
The Big Move:
In 1999, Fish City had outgrown its location and made its final move to 265 Kahikatea Drive, where we remain now.
Fish City put the final roots down and has continued to grow and expand since then.
With the success of Fish City and almost ten years under his belt,
Ross decided it was time to open a second store, in Auckland. December of 2001, Fish City Albany opened its doors and quickly took off and became a leader in the Auckland fishing industry, with help from the great team.
Focusing on Boating:
Ross purchased the Hamilton Roger Gills store in 2004 and rebranded it as “Boating World”. Now he had a store dedicated solely to boating.
When May 2007 rolled around, Ross decided to merge Boating World and Fish City Hamilton, giving Waikato the ultimate superstore in fishing and boating.
Fisher / Hunter / Gatherer:
Fishing and hunting are often found side by side – Ross is a keen fisherman but also well skilled with a shotgun. After almost 20 years of being exclusively a marine recreation store, Fish City opened its hunting department in 2011, much to the delight of many of their regular customers.
A Gap in the Market:
2011 - Ross realised there was a gap in the market for aluminium boats that were practical, good quality, safe and cost-effective. He aspired to set a new benchmark - and FC Boats began. By December 2011, the first prototype hit the water – an FC 430T – and was sold almost immediately.
2012 saw FC Boats become extremely successful, selling over 150 boats in its first year. Development continued, and new models were beginning to be designed.
The Next Generation:
In 2015, Ross’s son Max joined the FC Boats team as a boat builder, in the factory. From 2012 to 2015, FC Boats had grown exponentially, and the range now included 15 models.
By 2016 the factory was expanded, and the entire FC Boats range was now being manufactured in-house in Hamilton.
After 15 years of Fish City Albany, the decision was made to sell. Ross wanted to concentrate on building and developing FC Boats and focus on the original Fish City store in his hometown. The Fish City name is still going strong, both in the Waikato and in Auckland.
Moving into the Digital World:
In 2018, Fish City Hamilton finally launched a successful website (after 3 previous attempts that were yet to work properly), and fishcityhamilton.co.nz went live.
In 2020, only a month post-lockdown, Hunting & Outdoors made its debut on the digital space and was met with a wall of support.
After seeing the response to huntingandoutdoors.co.nz, fishcityhamilton.co.nz underwent changes as well, to become a Shopify based website like its hunting counterpart.
A New Look:
After 10 years of conversations and planning, the groundwork began for a brand-new workshop for Fish City Hamilton. In November of 2020, the bobcats and diggers came pouring in, and ground was broken. Amongst the pre-Christmas rush, the workshop was completed.
In the heat of January 2021, the entire upgrade was completed – new workshop, concreted yard and new outwards good area.
We hope we can continue to serve the Waikato and beyond, and always welcome anyone to join the Fish City Ham Fam.
AWARDS & ACCOMPLISHMENTS:
Fish City Hamilton:
1996 Waikato Business Awards
Waikato Small Business of the Year
Overall Business of the Year
1996 No.1 Ramco dealer
1996 No.1 Mercury dealer
2014 Mercury Dealer of the Year
2013 Hutchwilco Boat Show
Under 6M Aluminium Fishing Boat of the Show – FC 600 Centre Console