Gumtree Pies, Yackandandah
Sebastian and Melinda Nedziak are the first to admit that their foray into business wasn’t by the textbook and probably isn’t going to be what most people would expect.
At first, they started up a cafe that was a bit out of town, housed in a building made mostly out of local recycled timber – hence the name Gum Tree Cafe.It was there they started making their own pies, and after while they decided that this part of the business was one which they would start to focus on.
“I said to my wife I thought we were on to something – so we went out and bought a $5000 van, which we put on a credit card, as well as some other equipment we needed, so we could start travelling around to markets and selling our pies,” Sebastian says.
“We had no money, no savings – and a credit card which was then maxed out, and we went to a Beechworth Festival and our pies sold out – I said to Melinda that we needed to get around and sell pies because that was going to be our bread and butter.”
Fast-forward and the Nedziaks are now the proud owners of Gum Tree Pies, which includes two thriving shops in Yackandandah and Bright, and a strong presence at markets in the North East, Melbourne and Canberra.
To them opening their first shop in Yackandandah felt like coming home. “We had always told everyone at markets we were from Yackandandah and then when we were finally able to open an outlet there, we were so happy to showcase our little town to all our market customers,” Sebastian says.
Then after the success at Yackandandah, they decided to branch out. “We weren’t even really looking that hard for a second shop, but we walked past the place at Bright and thought it would be a great location for one, so we opened it a little over 12 months after Yackandandah,” he says.
“I just have this attitude that I will make things work – and if they don’t, we just work hard to make them work.” Sebastian said the staff the couple employ have also been a great attribute to the business. As for the pies, Sebastian said it was about good ingredients. “You get out of it what you put in – put in rubbish ingredients and that is what your pie will be,” he says.
He said he and Melinda are considering a third shop and they would love their children, Lily, 10, and Mia, 8, to be part on the business in the longer term.