WHYCOCOMAGH, N.S. -- They're offering free land and a job to anyone interested in working at the family roadside general store -- and two Cape Breton businesswomen say they've been swamped with replies.

Sandee MacLean is promising to give 0.8 hectares of woodland to anyone who commits to work at The Farmer's Daughter Country Market for five years.

MacLean, who owns about 80 hectares of land, said she was trying to come up with ways to attract employees to the quaint bakery and store in the small community of Whycocomagh, because conventional ads hadn't worked.

So after a walk along a mountaintop, she and her sister posted a note on Facebook offering parcels of woodland to anyone who will work at the store and might not mind living off the grid.

"We think we need to think outside of the box to keep Cape Breton true to its roots -- a place where people live year-round and celebrate the beauty that surrounds us in music and stories, and where being a neighbour truly means you talk to everyone in the local co-op," the ad reads.

Since posting the note on Sunday, MacLean said the response has been overwhelming, with more than 1,000 people calling or sending them messages from across Canada, including British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

"The phone has been ringing off the hook," she said in an interview on Tuesday. "There's been a lot of interesting people. There's one couple that said they do live off the grid -- they have done that -- and that they're chefs."

On the market's Facebook page, the post had been shared more than 800 times on Tuesday afternoon and had more than 200 comments, with many lamenting about leaving city life behind for good.

"Incredibly tempting to leave this rat race of a city I have been living in for the past decade, though I have enjoyed other parts of the world. Please see my application, as I am interested," said a person posting under the name Adriano Belmonte.

"I'm getting fed up with all of the cement of Montreal, Quebec and I'm wanting to return back to back to my roots. My ancestors are from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and I believe many of them were farmers," wrote a person posting under the name Karen Snair.

The 40-year-old MacLean, who recently took over the business from her parents, said she's hoping they can hire about three more people to boost their year-round staff to 15 and to help keep up with demand -- as the business also produces baked goods that are shipped out to local Sobeys stores.

Employees make between $11 and $13 an hour -- a typical wage for rural Cape Breton, she said.

MacLean said the only requirement is that the person must work at the store for five years. After that, the two acres of land is theirs for free, as long as they cover the legal cost of roughly $2,000 to transfer it into their name.

"We really want our community to be repopulated," said MacLean. "We really are committed to keeping Cape Breton alive and vibrant and we're not really interest in making a huge profit off people."