In addition to serving a variety of loyal locals, Valentines Bakehouse in Rutherglen can legitimately be considered one of the local tourist attractions because it's open from 7am to 5pm almost every day of the year, serving a variety of nourishing or delightful food and beverages to anyone who fancies them.
Matilda Perry's role in the family business is HR and finance, and says "it's been a great and exciting new development to open a newly rebuilt store. Rutherglen is a tourism town, nestled between 15-20 wineries, and these are all owned by families, so it's a cute, humble, family-run town," Matilda says of the place she and her siblings are now very fond of.
They, along with other local businesses including all the places offering accommodation, welcome a variety of visitors from other parts of the state, especially Melbourne, as well as other parts of the country when circumstances allow.
"Once the ring of steel [as it was known] came down from Melbourne all the local accommodation was booked out," Matilda said.
"We're looking forward to some borders opening again to get Sydney people back here."
As part of the redevelopment, the Rutherglen site has added substantially more seating capacity, growing from about 20 to nearly 100 seats. This includes taking advantage of the outdoor area, along with what is affectionately known as the boardroom that can take nearly 20 (notably, this is an area that locals could call to book if they wanted to have a team meeting in there, just as the Valentines Bakehouse team tends to do quite often).
Another exciting new addition is the introduction of cooked breakfasts. They have two chefs on the payroll and on the subject of staff, Matilda says they're looking for more people in various areas of the business, in all sites including Albury and Wodonga.
The family secured a Victorian government regional development grant to help make the Rutherglen project happen. Part of the purpose of that was to help attract and cater for more visitors to the region, and to also open up more job vacancies.
"We're hoping with the exciting new bakehouse to encourage people to work in Rutherglen," Matilda said, also noting it's not far from Albury, Wodonga, Corowa and other centres people could easily commute from.
Matilda says her mum Kay is still very involved with training up new customer staff and they're always very focussed on emphasising great customer service.
They also put lots of effort into training their baristas. It's one thing to source high quality coffee beans and roast them skillfully, but skill is also really important when it comes to making each and every order.