VALRICO — Guy Hermis wrapped up a career in the Army right about the same time his wife, Mary, had her hours cut back working at a local department store.
As part of his enlistment, Guy competed on the Army's Culinary Arts Team and baked for up to 1,500 people a day, including dignitaries and soldiers at the Pentagon and MacDill Air Force Base.
Before she left Marshalls, Mary earned a reputation by baking cakes for employee birthdays and customers who knew about her hidden talent.
With their combined expertise, the couple decided to operate a business out of their Valrico home baking custom cakes for all occasions.
That was 2010, and since then, the couple have taxed their oven enough — including a nine-cake day recently — to finally open a retail location. They are planning a grand opening for later this month at 1745 State Road 60, in the strip mall near Judy's Dance Academy.
"I've always wanted a little bakery," said Mary, who intends to offer what she calls "jaw-dropping cakes without stroke-inducing prices." "I think there's enough business for everybody. If your product is good and your customer service is good, people will come back."
Guy, an award-winning pastry chef, also doubles as pastor at Valrico's Relevant Life Church, so Heavenly Sweets & Pastries will be closed on Sundays.
He and his wife have five children and they said they understand families want to enjoy memorable cakes within reasonable budgets so they charge based on the details you request.
"I'm not the Cake Boss," Guy said. "I'm not going to charge you $900 for 50 servings."
Dinner cakes from toasted coconut to lemonade blueberry start at $15 and serve eight people. The Hermises invite you to stop in for a cup of coffee and some cupcakes — especially if you have hour to kill while your child dances a few doors down.
But they recommend you take the rum-filled tipsy cakes home in mason jars to enjoy on your own time.
"We believe we will do well," Guy said.
Call (813) 661-9329 or visit Heavenlysweetspastries on Facebook for opening details and updates.
Peck's brings chicken back to Brandon
Peck's Flame Broiled Chicken, which first introduced its signature blend of 22 herbs and spices to Brandon residents in 1992 but moved to Riverview in 2006, is making a return to Brandon with a new location set to open by mid September.
Eman Elseed, who bought the 1-year-old location at 10685 Big Bend Road last November from founder George Kontakos, said she wants to bring the concept back to the community where she has lived for 32 years.
"We have not changed anything on the menu," Eman said. "It will be more of the same."
She did say that because of her successful catering business, she is considering adding a breakfast menu between Thursdays and Saturdays.
The new location, near Outback Steakhouse, is set to open at 2020 W Brandon Blvd., Suite 140, replacing Philadelphia-based Saladworks.
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