The dog barks and the phone rings in the spacious ABC Software foyer in Taradale as another party of Australian growers rings the doorbell, having flown across the Tasman to check out the company.
Owners Sharon Chapman and Julie Gillies say their business is growing fast but they have no plans to update the reception area.
"There are better things to spend your money on than a flash glass-plated front - such as good staff and nice Christmas parties," says Sharon.
Two women owning an IT company is as unusual now as it was when they started their programming careers as teenagers.
Both are confused about why more women have not joined their profession.
"It is just fantastic," says Sharon.
"You are creative, it's mentally challenging and very rewarding because you are making a difference."
"Our byline is making the job easier. We make a difference to people's jobs and we get a buzz. It is so tangible and clients say, 'My god, this is so awesome.'"
Julie says IT is seen as technical and "geeky".
"I wouldn't know how to unscrew the back of a computer," she says.
"It's not about widgets, it's about business.
"The client doesn't give a monkey's what language it's written in or what technology it is delivered with - they just want a solution for the business."
ABC has internships for EIT graduates and three have become permanent staff.
"Bearing in mind we take the grads at the top of the class, the last time round we asked if we could please get a girl grad.
"Their classes have about 30 guys and three girls, so we were lucky to get a girl and are hoping to get another one."
Sharon's training was on-the-job, as she was determined to succeed after missing out on a job as a trainee programmer at Wattie's.
"I was straight out of school, and for some reason it was something that resonated with me."
She was successful in securing a job as a computer operator with Rothmans, and "badgered" her boss to let her train as a programmer.
She went overseas and returned to a job with Kevin Atkinson's IMS Payroll, where she was mentored on business analysis.
She worked overseas again and on her return was determined to be her own boss and start her own programming business.
She rang her brothers looking for leads, and landed a contract with Wattie's for tracing field vegetable bins. Wattie's gave her more work and her client base grew.
One day, Julie rang. She was cold-calling people to ask what the job situation was for programmers in Hawke's Bay.
Zimbabwe-born Julie had also gone into computer work from high school, and worked in the United Kingdom.
She moved to Wellington with her Kiwi husband "to have babies" and they were thinking of moving to Hawke's Bay.
Julie visited Sharon and the pair quickly established a rapport.
Sharon gave her some contract work but it was three years before Julie moved to Hawke's Bay because she was offered a lucrative job in Wellington.
ABC got steadily busier, which wasn't necessarily a good thing for Sharon.
"I had hired a few staff but they were very green, so I actually ended up making more work for myself because I had to do the business analysis, all the testing and implementation and teach them how to programme."
Julie and her husband wanted a lifestyle block and a trip to Hawke's Bay for a family gathering had them again considering a move to the region.
"I rang Sharon and said, 'We've got the house on the market and thinking about coming to Hawke's Bay.'
"She said, 'don't go anywhere', and 15 minutes later she was there. I swear to God, there were tyres squealing and dust flying."
Sharon said the timing was eerie.
"I had work coming out of my ears and then Julie said they were thinking about moving to Hawke's Bay.
"I had been out in the back lawn at night looking at the stars going, I need Julie or someone like Julie, and then two days later the phone goes.
"I said, you have to move immediately."
Julie built a straw bale house in Bay View and is "living the dream" with her family and two labradors.
She was quickly offered an equal partnership.
"Julie worked so hard and we got the Mr Apple account, which has become a huge client."
Sharon specialises in business analysis - understanding a business and designing solutions - while Julie makes sure that things work.
"It is expensive to make software because of the time involved in it, so when you make something it better bloody last for the client and make a difference," Sharon says.
"We have always been completely in-sync with each other with those sorts of things. It is not just about money in the bank, because the money always turns up anyway if you do your job right.
"And here in Hawke's Bay, it is such a small place that if you don't do the job right you have nowhere to hide."
Two years ago they made a strategic decision to concentrate on the horticulture sector, "instead of the scattergun approach".
They were especially targeting Australia, but Australia found them first. An avocado grower in Western Australia heard from a New Zealander building a new packhouse that ABC's Mr Apple software was the best he had seen.
The Western Australian grower visited their Taradale office within the week, signed a contract and through a related Australian company ABC scored a contract for a mango packhouse in Northern Territory.
Today, Australia accounts for 40 per cent of ABC's work. And of their New Zealand work, half is outside Hawke's Bay.
Business has grown steadily, unaffected by the global financial crisis.
"We had a quiet period last year which was absolutely awesome because we made our package," Sharon says.
The "package" is a way to grow the business fast - they needed a product to scale the business up.
It is aimed squarely at packhouses, helped by the appointment of a sales and development manager.
For those who want something tailored, ABC continues to focus on bespoke software.
"Sometimes it's only worth having what you want and not compromising, so that's what we do."
They say they are both "old school" regarding getting things right first time.
Large-scale software debacles such as Novapay's teething problems with the teachers' payroll around the country have them shaking their heads about companies not following basic quality-control procedures and misunderstanding client's businesses.
However, they admit to "a couple" of slip-ups over the company's 18-year history.
"We slap ourselves harder than anybody else can slap us," Julie says.
Sharon's strength is business analysis and she often encounters "scope creep" as different ways of doing things are suggested to clients.
"You have to understand business to be really good at building software - the core of everything is understanding the business."
Contact with clients is an ongoing dialogue.
"We have had the odd client where we have built something and we have hardly ever talked to them again, because what we built for was exactly what they needed, but that is unusual.
"The usual is the client's business evolves and they want the software enhanced with changes."
As Australia takes off for them, they have no intention of easing off their growth ambition, says Sharon, who is currently on the Icehouse's owner/manager programme.
"The vision is to own the world. If you can own Australia, then why not own the rest of the English-speaking planet?"