For more than 15 years, Katie Pigott has been the smiling face greeting train commuters at Melton station, serving the all important first coffee of the day.
But this week that will come to an end, with Ms Pigott ending her tenure at the station kiosk after V/Line decided not to renew her contract.
It’s something she said she’s still wrapping her head around.
“I’m excited because we were already looking to sell the business, but the way it happened was not great,” Ms Pigott said.
“I approached [V/Line] towards the end of last year to get a new lease so I could sell my business, and they were positive about that. But on January 7 they handed me eviction notices instead because I was on a month-to-month lease.
“It was like someone had ripped my heart out. It’s been a massive part of my life, and I’ve dedicated my life to this. It’s my love.”
While she is disappointed with the way it finished, Ms Pigott said she was thankful for the journey that began back in 2004, and has been one of the enduring parts of her life.
“I was a train traveller, and I knew the old owners who were looking to retire so I took over,” she said. “Back then it was just a kettle, one power point, rat-infested, so we put a lot of work in to get it to what it is now.
“Each day would start at 3.30am, load up the car and come here, park in my same spot every day and start getting ready for the first passengers.
“I’ve made the best of friends here, life long friends. We’ve been to weddings, funerals, baby showers, birthdays; my customers have just been beautiful and they’ve left some lovely messages since the word got out I was finishing.
“It’s been great sending the people of Melton off with a smile on their face every day.”
Since starting the business with her husband Kris, the family has now grown to include boys Cooper, 13, and Marshal, 10. And they will be forever tied to the kiosk. “I actually went into labour with Cooper while I was here,” Ms Pigott said. “It was a Friday afternoon and I felt it start, so I collected my stuff and he came Monday morning. I was back in the kiosk in about eight weeks I think.”
While there are no concrete plans for the future, husband Kris said they were looking forward to the change.
A spokesperson for V/Line said: “We’re currently investigating more flexible options for passengers using Melton Station such as portable coffee carts.”