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Sandra Williams was hit by a drunk driver several years ago. It ended her career as a Pastry Chef, eroded her self-worth and left her in chronic pain.

“In the beginning, I was just looking for a bit of extra income,” Sandra says. “I thought, if I could get back what I’d lost in the accident—even just baking one or two cakes a week—I would feel like I had purpose again.”

Fast forward two years and her company, Cakes by the Lake, was turning away customers.

“I didn’t have the time or space to grow, so I applied for a loan from Rise to renovate my home with a commercial kitchen and take my business full time.”

Sandra’s monthly sales have doubled since finishing the remodel a year ago, and Cakes by the Lake is quickly becoming a wedding cake go-to in Niagara. With referrals from local wineries and the wedding industry, Sandra’s customers rave about her products on social media—no paid advertising needed. Now financially independent, she’s also created employment for two part-time helpers and a bookkeeper.

“Rise allowed me to take my business to the next level,” Sandra says. “I didn’t think I’d work again after my accident, but thanks to Rise I’m running a full-time, successful small business!”

Despite having doubled her capacity last year, Sandra still turns away orders daily. With plans to hire more staff in the near future, she says she may open a storefront in the coming years.

“I have my self-confidence back, and I have goals and dreams that are achievable again,” Sandra says. “Best of all, I have extra income to spoil my two grandchildren with, and that just fills my heart!”