FOR Yasmine and Joanne Hunter, their drive to work is more than just a commute.

As they travel from Windermere to Grasmere Gingerbread, the business their family has run for over 50 years, the car is abuzz with ideas for how they can take the company forward.

It is unsurprising that gingerbread plays such a massive part in their lives, given that they have both grown up with it. Joanne’s parents, Gerald and Margaret Wilson, were the second generation of her family to run the business, which she and husband Andrew bought from them 23 years ago.

Since then, Joanne has spearheaded its sales and marketing, while Andrew has focused on the legal and financial running of the business. The eldest of their three children, Yasmine, began working in marketing for Grasmere Gingerbread eight years ago.

However, her involvement began much earlier when she used to accompany her parents and younger siblings to host at stall at events, all dressed in Victorian garb to reflect the period clothing of Grasmere Gingerbread’s original founder Sarah Nelson.

Paying homage to Sarah Nelson is a massive part of Grasmere Gingerbread’s brand story. This year marks 170 years since Sarah began the business in Church Cottage, next to St Oswald’s Church.

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It still has its shop in Church Cottage today. Joanne’s parents bought the business in 1968 and she grew up in the family home across the road from the shop, which is now used as office space.

She had a career working for organisations including Mountain Goat, South Lakeland District Council, Cumbria Tourism, Northumbria Tourist board and Sunderland University before she and Andrew bought the business from her parents.

Today it employs 30 staff and expanded by opening a second shop in Hawkshead last summer.

The team’s hard work, combined with the Lake District’s status as a global tourist destination, has turned Grasmere Gingerbread into a world-renowned brand, helped in no small way by the business’ appearances in the media and on TV.

However, long-term health problems now mean that Joanne is having to take a step back. Yasmine is also planning to seek new challenges and find a replacement for her position.

“We’ve gone through a real journey and I’m really proud of that, but it’s ready for its next peak and some fresh energy coming in,” said Yasmine.