Situated on the corner of the city’s Rusden Street and Jessie Street, The Goldfish Bowl cafe and bakery has been an Armidale institution for more than a decade.
It’s a hugely important focal point for many in the region. As well as having a strong regular clientele who prize its coffee, sourdough, pastries and woodfired pizzas, The Goldfish Bowl – a creative space with good vibes – is often high on the list of places for those from outside of Armidale to visit when in the city, too.
Importantly, it also provides employment to 32 wonderfully talented and passionate locals, sources its produce from suppliers from the region, who provide fresh, sustainable, organic ingredients for its delicious range of food and drinks, and supports a range of community activities, sporting clubs and associations.
No wonder it’s an Armidale must-visit!
The realisation of a long-term dream
Since 2016, The Goldfish Bowl has been owned and operated by Trent Rush, whose interest in food began at an early age.
“I left school to embark on a baking/pastry cooking apprenticeship at the local bakery in Merriwa, and after the completion of the apprenticeship, I ventured to Newcastle, then onto Armidale, learning the trade and absorbing as much knowledge from whomever I came across in the industry,” he explains.
“In 2016, I felt confident enough in myself to take the big step of purchasing The Goldfish Bowl, realising my lifelong dream of owning my own bakery.
“I surrounded myself with skilled and passionate staff, some of whom are still with me today, and together, we’ve grown The Goldfish Bowl into the business it is today.”
Supporting Local Businesses
Managing and growing a business isn’t an easy task, however, and since purchasing The Goldfish Bowl in 2016, Trent’s had his fair share of challenges to contend with – however, he’s grateful for the support he’s received from the local business community and customers, too.
“Being a small business owner in regional Australia has provided me with access to such a large network of industry experts who are willing to share guidance and support to help me overcome such massive hurdles like the pandemic lockdowns,” he says.
“As well as that, we have amazing people who are not only loyal customers but have become such great friends who I can constantly lean on for advice and support.”
Been there, done that – the benefit of experience
Another key component of The Goldfish Bowl’s journey under Trent has been his relationship with Regional Australia Bank.
“The support and guidance I've received over the years from Regional Australia Bank has been nothing short of perfect,” he says.
“Knowing they are only a phone call away to answer a question, assist in a query, or just bounce an idea off has given me such confidence.”
As a business owner, that support and confidence cannot be underestimated. And, as someone who’s now got seven years under his belt, Trent has the following insights for people considering taking the leap into business ownership themselves.
“Starting your own business is daunting but also so rewarding. If you’re passionate, dedicated and not scared of some hard work, owning your own business can be amazing.
“Surround yourself with positive, passionate and knowledgeable people, and your journey will be memorable – and hopefully profitable!”