When Rick and Tina Stanfield founded Sweet Henrietta's Treats in 2011 they could not have imagined the popularity, demand and success of the business seven years later.
The business, named for their 8-year-old Border collie, was conceived in the Stanfield's old car in which they were forced to live after losing their home.
"We came up with the idea that first night in the car as we asked ourselves what we could do to make money," said Rick. "We had never even baked a cake from scratch. It was so crazy that it had to be from God."
The Stanfields spent 10 days in their car and kept cleaning houses and saving money until they could get back in their house, begin baking, and purchase an old ice-cream truck to sell from.
They took their cupcakes to area farmers' markets and soon were receiving orders for specialty cakes as word spread about their inspiring story.
"The business has grown by leaps and bounds and just exploded," Rick said. "We couldn't keep up with it. We knew we had to do something. We were turning away orders. We never dreamed this would happen when we thought of it while living in our car."
When the Stanfields were approached by newcomers Pete and Debra Pearson, they felt it was a perfect match.
"We talked and they agreed with the path we are on and we turned it over to them on Dec. 1," said Rick.
The Pearsons moved to South Walton in 2015 with a business plan for a coffee shop on 30A, but when they heard that Sweet Henrietta's might be for sale, they switched gears.
"The founders had built an unbelievable brand and we both come from a family that baked. I always enjoyed baking," said Pete.
"I knew it was really good when Tina shared her red velvet cake recipe and it was the same as my grandmother's," Debra chimed in.
However, Pete said he knew for it to work the bakery needed to have a commercial site before retail.
The Pearsons secured a site for a production facility that is a full-scale bakery and includes a tasting room for brides.
"We intend to grow the business," he said.
The Seagrove residents have already begun taking their sweets back to the Seaside farmer's market on Saturday mornings, where the Stanfields began.
However, their focus right now is the bakery side of the business, concentrating on weddings, birthdays, and selling to restaurants.
"We're hearing from chefs on 30A who don't want to do pastries and desserts. We deliver or you can pick up. We have hired some great people who are training under Tina," said Pete.
"I am excited about the expansion of the bakery and the next chapter of Sweet Henrietta's," said Rick. "We passed the torch to a couple who can make the business even better than it is now. God blessed us by sending them to expand the business into what it is capable of."
"We will stay true to the service, and made-from-scratch recipes that contributed to the success. We look forward to meeting the many friends and customers Tina and Rick have made along the way," said Pete.
Rick recently graduated from law school -- so that he would never again have to live in his car -- and is finishing up his second book, "I Can and I Will." His law practice will be put on hold as he and Tina travel across the country promoting the book and hoping to help inspire people who have gone through or are going through difficult times, letting them know it will get better with faith in God and hard work.
"I am really proud of this book," he said. "We have seven places lined up in Missouri to do book signings."
The Stanfields will continue to consult with and train with Sweet Henrietta's as long as they are needed.
"To think all of this started in a house and a little farmer's market," said Rick.