New chapter for Singleton's Coal Rock Cafe as Donna Valentine retires and hands over duties to new owners

GOODBYE DONNA: Donna Valentine (middle) with new owners John Hyde (far left) and Peter Hyde (left of Donna) with Coal Rock Cafe staff.
GOODBYE DONNA: Donna Valentine (middle) with new owners John Hyde (far left) and Peter Hyde (left of Donna) with Coal Rock Cafe staff.

After 25 years of serving the Singleton community of it's coffee needs, local legend Donna Valentine has retired from her duties at the Coal Rock Cafe and handed her 'baby' over to new owners father and son duo John and Peter Hyde.

Donna's mother Pam initially started up the business in 1996 and the small, family-oriented cafe has seen hundreds of locals in and out the doors both as customers and employees.

"It is the oldest-operating cafe in Singleton," Donna said proudly. "It's sad to be leaving but life is too short and I have been here a long time," she added.

Donna introduced the Singleton Argus to it's new owners, John and Peter Hyde.

"I am excited for Peter and John to be taking over, they have the family-oriented, community spirit type of energy the business thrives off," said Donna.

The Coal Rock Cafe is known to be a locals favourite spot to relax, unwind and network with others.

Peter with Donna.

Peter with Donna.

"During the transition period, I introduced and familiarised both Peter and John with our regular customers, who have all been very welcoming of the new duo," Donna continued.

Over the years, the Coal Rock cafe has supported many community members and groups include members of the Army and many local sporting clubs.

It has transitioned from it's original store in the old shopping center (where Roberts Meats is currently located), to operating out of a kiosk during the Gowrie Charter Hall renovations before opening it's doors in it's current location on the corner of the mall.

The business has survived many hiccups including the coal downturn in the 90's, the GFC and it's hardest hitting challenge; surviving COVID.

"To Donna's credit she has done so much for the Singleton community," new owner Peter Hyde said.

"We have some really big shoes to fill," Peter added.

The new owners plan to renovate new floors, new paint and add a pop of CAT yellow to the iconic dump truck mural at the front of the shop.

"Everything will still be the same, same iconic Coal Rock with the same staff and similar menu," he said.

"We want to keep Donna and her mother's legacy going."

Tuesday was a bittersweet day for Donna as she farewelled her much loved business to the new owners.

"I just would like to thank my mother Pam, my Husband Wayne and my daughters for all of their support and help over the years," Donna continued.

"As well as all my loyal customers and regulars who have continued supporting the business over the years.

"Thank you Singleton."

Coal Rock Cafe is open seven days a week located in Singleton Square.

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