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Mum’s Fish & Chips: Rose Gordon’s Entrepreneur Story

In 2020, Rose Gordon jumpstarted her dream of owning her own restaurant and opened up her own fish and chip shop called, “Mum’s Fish & Chips.” Since she was a little girl growing up in the United Kingdom, Rose had always wanted to run her own restaurant and serve her family favourites to her community. When Rose was a teenager, her family immigrated from the UK to Canada to start a new life. It was not until Rose was much older and had a young son with autism that she decided it is possible to start her own business with the support of her family. In 2014, Rose originally wanted to buy a business from a local chain restaurant and locate the restaurant in Acton, Ontario. However, the seller refused to allow Rose to establish the business in Acton, for he claimed, “Are you mad? Acton is full of racists.”

Rose recalls her experience with the business owner and comments, “ I am living in Acton and this person who is not a person of colour is telling me, that this place is racist. However, I live there and said that I wanted to open up a business and did not feel that way at all. I was very taken back. He kept saying no.”

Rose was discouraged by the chain’s refusal to support her opening of a restaurant in Acton and by 2020 the pandemic had hit and she believed her dream of owning her own restaurant was dead. However, Rose’s mother, someone who showed her unconditional love and support the entirety of their journey, encouraged Rose that her dream was only dead if she it allowed it to be.

“We walked in blindly, we put all of our other talents and experiences together and said ‘okay we can do this’ and we did.”

Rose was determined to open up her restaurant in Acton; she enjoyed the little town which reminded her of the place she grew up in, in the UK. Rose did not feel the colour of her skin would affect her business the way others warned her it would.

Rose continues, “In regards to being a Black owned business in Acton, the colour of my skin has not inhibited in business or our journey in anyway. Being Black in anywhere is going to be problematic, my family moved from the UK to rural British Columbia and it was a complete culture shock. The business in Acton has been great, we have some great customers and I have been feeling good here. There are a lot of people in Acton, who have the same background as me, who lived across from me back home. It’s absolutely amazing, when you can recognized someone who comes from the same place as you. We have a lot of English customers and it is wonderful.”

Rose and her 82-year-old-mother have put all of their heart and soul into “Mum’s Fish & Chips” in order to support their dream. Rose enjoys the freedom running her own restaurant provides and she is able to take better care of her son and support him in anyway he may need. Acton has embraced Rose’s restaurant and Rose feels fortunate to run her business in Acton. Rose comments, “I could not do this anywhere else, I could only do this in Acton. If anything else I would like to take this further up North. The people here are very authentic and it reminds me of England.”

Certainly there are racist individuals who live within the town, frankly there are racists living all throughout Ontario and Canada. Rose feels that her restaurant has not been negatively targeted because of the colour of her skin, however she, like many other Black people has experienced ignorant comments. Rose recalls, “I have had people at the beginning come up to me and say ‘okay, you’re new in town and black, and if you do not live up to my standards I won’t be back.’ That mentality is very aggressive you know? Like, are you good enough to be here? But you’re going to find that everywhere, no matter where you go. There are not a lot of people of colour in Acton, so some people feel more entitled to behave in that way towards me. But, that is nothing to growing up in England in the 1970s, I can look at it and just shake my head.”

“Mum’s Fish & Chips,” has been going strong since 2020 and continues to support Rose and her family. The business is extremely important to her and her family and her customers are extremely valuable to her, she could not do it without them. “As the British say, Acton is top-shelf,” comments Rose, “they are top shelf is what it comes to, I am so happy to be here. We would not be here today, if the people of Acton hated us for the colour of our skin, we just wouldn’t.”

Rose prefers to stay off social media and enjoys spending time with her children and her partner. Her story, is similar to many other POC entrepreneurs who move to a small town with a dream. Fortunately, Rose’s was able to come true due to her hard work and support from her family, especially her mother. When Rose is not working at “Mum’s Fish & Chips,” she is taking care of her high-functioning son and hopes that one day the success of the business will provide him with opportunities and support he needs.

Mums Fish and Chips serves a wide variety of British, Canadian, and Caribbean food, you can find everything on their menu from jerk chicken, fried chicken, poutine, and of course fish and chips.

To find out more information about “Mum’s Fish & Chips” click the link here:

“Mum’s Fish & Chips,” is located at 352 Queen St #3


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