The owners of Ziggy's Fresh at Fyshwick have been named the best medium greengrocer in the ACT and NSW - without an ooshie or miniature toy in sight.
They took home the honour of best medium business at the recent 2019 Sydney Markets Fresh Awards after an exhaustive judging process that included secret shoppers.
Ziggy's at Belconnen was a finalist in the same section. The Fresh Awards program recognises excellence and innovation in fresh produce and flower retailing, growing and blogging.
Toni and Ken Irvine own both stores, with son Todd and daughter-in-law Susie, and were thrilled to be both a finalist and a winner in the best medium business category.
"We were competing against ourselves in a way, but there could be only one winner," Ken said.
The family are third-generation grocers. It all started with Henry and Winifred Irvine, who opened a fruit shop in Yass in 1953.
Ziggy's Fresh at Fyshwick was also named Greengrocer of the Year in 2016. They were a finalist this year.
Ken said the business was a family affair. He and Todd looked after produce; Toni concentrated on organics and Susie looked after their customer loyalty program. Their impressive social media is done by Emma Bickley, who was also a Fresh Awards finalist this year, in the blogging category for her own blog, Photo Before We Eat.
As for the award judging, the secret shoppers would come into the stores at any time over six months, looking at everything from "if the baskets were clean to if the signs were correct".
"They would buy the products and taken them home and send back a four-page report right down to whether the apples were crunchy or the mushrooms stayed white," Ken said.
Semi-finalists were then visited by two expert judges, again in secret. Even though the judges operated independently, they both came up with the same assessment of Ziggy's: "could not fault this shop".
"It's huge for us because most people don't realise how hard it is to win one of these awards," Ken said.
The family got into the fruit and veggie business almost by accident.
Patriarch Henry Irvine was a builder in Canberra (he worked on the Russian embassy).
He needed a truck for his business and the one he ended up buying came complete with a load of spuds. Henry went around and sold the potatoes to cafes and realised it was good business.
"So we're third-generation fruiterers, but we could have just as easily been third-generation builders," Mr Irvine said.
Ziggy's Fresh at Fyshwick will be continuing the celebrations this weekend with activities such as face painting and balloon giveaways and special tastings and cooking demonstrations.
Ken said Ziggy's happily didn't put themselves in the same league as the big supermarkets and weren't affected by their gimmick giveaways.
"We'd probably see ourselves more as a health food business," he said. "The customers are not going to grab just anything off the shelf. They expect a certain standard and if it's not up to scratch, they certainly won't be coming back."
Sydney Markets chief executive officer Brad Latham, said the entire markets community took great pride in honouring industry leaders for their hard work and dedication.
"These thriving local businesses have continued to aim high and deliver to an exceptional standard," Mr Latham said.
"They deserve to be recognised and celebrated for their commitment to our industry. Many of these businesses have been running successfully for generations. Some have been passed along through families, others have been built by unbreakable partnerships."