Banbridge gaming enthusiasts have turned their passion for tabletop games into a popular local games café, Roast & Roll, thanks to help from the Go For It programme in association with Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.
The Go For It Programme is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth and Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) programme.
Aaron Bushby and Harry Singer established Roast & Roll in September 2022, after spotting a gap in the market for a board game themed café after visiting a similar café in England.
Harry explains: “Roast and Roll is a tabletop gaming café that focuses on board games, card games, war games, and role-playing games. You can call in and enjoy a delicious bite to eat or cup of coffee and traybake as you get lost in the enjoyment of playing your favourite games.
Aaron continues: “I lived in England for a while and saw a variety of board game cafés, and when I moved back to Northern Ireland, Harry and I got chatting and we both agreed that there was a gap in the market for a similar venture in Northern Ireland.”
The pair appreciate the security of working for an employer, however, they both express their love for being self-employed.
Aaron explained: “Being your own boss means you’re in control of all major business decisions and we can ensure the business is run exactly how we would like it. I suffer from a severe nut allergy, and so we’ve been able to work hard to ensure our café operates a nut-free policy, something we take a lot of pride in.”
Aaron and Harry launched Roast & Roll in after taking part in the Go For It programme through Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.
The Go For It programme is delivered free of charge by a team of experienced business mentors through Northern Ireland’s wide network of enterprise agencies. It provides entrepreneurs with expert advice and help to develop a business plan and turn their ideas into viable businesses.
Aaron comments: “Through the Go For It programme we had numerous meetings and the development of the business plan really helped us think about all aspects of the business that we needed to consider to make it a success. It helped us refine our ideas and focused our thinking by having all the figures and plans laid out in one document.”
Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough, Councillor Paul Greenfield, said: “It’s inspiring to see Aaron and Harry taking their first entrepreneurial steps and turning their idea into a successful business with support from the Go For It Programme.
“The key to making a business successful is hard work and determination, and it is evident that the pair have committed themselves to this business venture and this is what makes them successful. I’m pleased to see new businesses like Roast & Roll start-up in the borough, and I hope to encourage more of them, as entrepreneurs are the backbone of our local economy.
Samuel Marshall, business advisor at the Banbridge Enterprise Centre added: “The mentorship we provided Aaron and Harry focused mainly on the delivery of their business idea. We worked together on financial planning, market research, and goal setting as we prepared their business plan. It was a real pleasure to work alongside them as they are a highly motivated pair of local entrepreneurs and I wish them all the very best.”
If you have a business idea you’d like to develop or if you are thinking about starting a business contact the Go For It Programme on: 0800 027 0639 or visit: www.goforitni.com.