The colorful and achingly sincere Jonny Rush has piloted his festive bus-turned-mobile-fish market into the calm waters of the C&C Secondhand Store, 30654 Baggett Lane, off Highway 395 in Hermiston.
Capt. Jonny, as he prefers to be called, and his bus are a hard sight to miss.
Based in Longview, Capt. Jonny makes his living selling frozen fish from a fully-inspected and licensed mobile market. Newly painted for 2016, it sports a fluorescent paint job, an Easter Bunny motif and a fresh flamingo. The latter was commissioned from a Mexican artist to succeed one that recently flew away or rather, blew away.
His bus isn’t the only thing sporting a fresh coat. Capt. Jonny is turned out in a new captain’s hat and uniform, all the better to appeal to children and camera buffs.
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Capt. Jonny, who is given to referring to himself in the third person, says he’s earned the right to be called a “bus captain” after decades in the mobile fish business. He buys fresh fish from commercial vessels in Seattle and purveys his catch at discounted prices to buyers along the Columbia River. He receives deliveries by refrigerated truck from Seattle.
“The freeway is my ocean and the rest areas are my beaches,” he said.
Capt. Jonny is brimming with fish business tales too. Thanks to low fuel prices, fish costs about $1 a pound less. He credits the arrival of Russian fishing boats at American processing plants for oversupplying the market.
Halibut is $8 a pound at his roadside stand. He’s also selling red snapper, sea bass and ling cod. There’s no salmon this year — no room, he said.
Capt. Jonny will be at the C&C parking lot for about 15 days. He’s open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and welcomes pre-visit phone calls to ensure he’s not running errands. Call him at 503-860-1851.