It all started in 1974, when Tom O’Toole bought the original Beechworth Bakery building, then called the Ideal Café & Milk Bar. He continued with that name but sold the business only three years later. So, really, it all began in 1984, when Tom bought the building for the second time. And this time he called it the Beechworth Bakery.
Built in 1857, the original building was erected as single storey commercial premises, with a second storey and balcony added around 1900. Old legal documents reveal the premises have been home to a shoe shop, dining room and pastry shop.
That same year Tom also bought the drapers next door and extended the production and baking areas at the rear. He doubled the floor space and entrances for customers by opening up into the former drapery premises, and created an outdoor area on the sidewalk to extend seating.
Beechworth Bakery’s current managing director, Marty Matasoni, started working for Tom and Beechworth Bakery at the age of 13 after school, peeling onions, cracking eggs, stacking the drinks fridge and putting stock away. His family owned the local shoe shop in Beechworth across the road from the bakery, and he was brought up in the family business.
Marty soon moved into early morning shifts at the bakery, helping the bakers and cooking the donuts. At the age of 16, he left school after completing year 10 at Beechworth Secondary College, and began his apprenticeship as a baker/pastry cook. After completing the 4 year trade and working his way up the ranks, Marty left to travel for a while, but came back in 2001 to buy a share of the business from Tom.
Marty was instrumental in starting up our 2nd Beechworth Bakery, from a business that was purpose-built as a bakery but had gone broke. The new bakery proved to be an instant success with customers, and quickly grew from a $400k business to well in excess of $2m.
Further expansion was driven by customer demand and continuous feedback of the need for a Beechworth Bakery in additional regional destination towns. So after moving back to his home area, Marty oversaw the opening of the Albury bakery in 2004, Bendigo in 2005, and Ballarat and Healesville in 2006.
After 12 years of consolidation, Yackandandah was opened in 2017 when the local bakery closed its doors after 35 years and left the community without a bakery for 3 months. And 2018 saw the opening of our two Bright bakeries, after the owners of the two wanted to sell, and approached us to continue the operation of both bakeries in the town.
Moving forward we are now back in consolidation for a period of time, to gather our thoughts and plan for continuous growth. We bake all our own products for all our 9 bakeries, employing nearly 300 local and regional people.
To learn more about Tom O’Toole and what he can do for you, visit his website: