OWNERS of Wycheproof's Bakery on Broadway couldn't wipe the smiles off their faces after walking away with a top prize at this year's Victorian Regional Achievement and Community Awards.
The booming business won one of the most prestigious awards on the night, the Regional Development Victoria Business Achievement Award.
After opening for business during Easter last year, the bakery has since become the most popular attraction in town.
On tourist review website TripAdvisor, the bakery holds a four-and-a-half star rating, with over 70 per cent of reviewers giving the business five stars.
Co-owner Ann Durie said the bakery was the brainchild of four local couples who wanted to "bring the town back to life." "We wanted our town to survive," Ms Durie said.
"A lot of rural towns around us are dying and we thought that a busy bakery would be a great thing for the town."
The idea came about after Wycheproof Cup Day one year, when the couples saw how many people were drawn to the town because of the annual horse racing event.
"We got talking about how the town needed a bakery," she said.
"Next thing you know, we chose the spot and bought the building."
During the next two years, the team of eight renovated the building to make it bakery ready.
"None of us had ever been in the food industry before; we're made up of teachers, farmers and health workers," she said.
The bakery currently employs 15 staff, from secondary school students to people on working visas.
"We employ a lot of younger people in the community who are saving up money to go off to University or TAFE," she said.
Their clientele includes tourists, tradies and truck drivers, but it's the locals who have really embraced the business.
"We get a lot of repeat customers, some come in just to buy pies to reheat at home," she said.
"A lot of tourists pass through to go to Lake Tyrrell or the Silo Art trail."
Besides their delicious pies, pasties and cakes, the bakery has gained a reputation for having great coffee.
Ms Durie said the business wanted to leave a green foot on the world.
"We're trying to recycle as much as we can, like the food scraps go to the chickens at the local school," she said.
"Old coffee grinds are sold for two dollars a bag for people to put their gardens."
All money made through the sale of recycled coffee grinds goes towards the upkeep of Wycheproof's community car.
"People use the car to go to appointments in Bendigo, Swan Hill or Melbourne," she said.
"We're just pleased we can help give back to the community in some way."
To read more about this story, grab a copy of Friday's Guardian (November 3).