Hernando Today:

While many small business ideas are crafted from passionate hobbies, the back story behind Gia’s Cakes & Goodies runs even deeper.

After spending 14 years in the law industry, Samantha Long was looking for a career change. She was also dealing with the loss of her father to cancer.

“I wanted to do something that made me happy,” she said. “Baking and smiling people make me happy.”

Baking had always been a release for Long, who often brought her unique goodies to the office to share with coworkers while dealing with the pain of her loss.

Ironically, she dreamt one night of opening a bakery and described the dream to her mother who encouraged her even though neither knew anything about operating a bakery.

“She was going to help me,” Long said. “Mom was amazing at running a business. She ran Dad’s.”

Gia’s Cakes & Goodies, which was named after Long’s daughter, Giannette, officially opened on September 11 in the Spring Hill East Shopping Center at 3155 Aerial Way next door to Target.