A new venture in memory of a daughter

COUPLE Nina Bice and Kevin Harding are the owners of Bella Blue, one of the most recent additions to Bendigo's cafe scene.

They started the funky new business in May and have been seeing an increasing number of guests coming through their door.

The space exudes a vibrant, eclectic, happy vibe - a stark contrast with the reason the couple started it in the first place.

Ms Bice said she and Mr Harding were motivated to open a cafe in memory of her 17-year-old daughter, Tayla, who took her own life. 

In the wake of her loss and grief, Ms Bice decided it was best to stay busy. 

"I wanted to do something with my life other than fall in a heap," she said. 

"The reason we're here is because of her."

She said the support of the community after her daughter's death was so strong that she wanted to do something to give back. 

They leased a building on Hargreaves Street and called the cafe Bella Blue in reference to Tayla's "beautiful blue eyes". 

The cafe entrance is tucked away down an alley-way, which gives it a Melbourne feel. 

Ms Bice said the building was an empty shell when they bought it.

They made it into a cafe in just six weeks, using recycled materials, hand-building cabinets and benches and buying furniture from ebay. 

Ms Bice said the idea was to create a space that was welcoming, comfortable and child-friendly. 

"When I had a young baby, there weren't a lot of places to go," she said.

Now many of the customers that meet at Bella Blue for a coffee are mothers with babies. 

Ms Bice and Mr Harding have not just stopped at a cafe. They own Shed7 Hairdressing for Men in View Street and plan to open a bar next to Bella Blue. 

Mr Harding is a chiropractor and practices in rooms adjacent to the cafe, where there is also a masseuse.

They also sell jewellery, which they source from Melbourne.

"I just want to put all my energy and time into something positive," Ms Bice said. 

Ms Bice said her nine-year-old son and Mr Harding's two daughters were the focus of her life now. 

"They're our everything," she said. 

Bella Blue is at 363 Hargreaves Street, Bendigo. 


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