What started off as a Caf experiment has turned into a fully contracted business between Vanguard University, Bon Appetit, and junior Ashley Bassett. Bassett’s business, Sweet Squares, specializes in ice cream sandwiched by two mini waffles made from a customizable batter.
Sweet Squares’ first opening was held in front of Samson’s Café on Oct. 9 after Shine. Students coming out of Newport Mesa Church formed a long line to try out one of these ice cream sandwiches. Bassett, along with a crew of several other students clad in Sweet Squares t-shirts, worked to get orders out quickly and efficiently.
According to Bassett, her batter is what sets her apart from local ice cream shops. Unlike typical ice cream shops that put different toppings and customizations in and on their ice cream scoops, Sweet Squares allows its customers to customize their batter. The waffle batter used by can be customized to include various ingredients such as chocolate chips and sprinkles.
Sweet Squares began with an idea that Bassett and some friends had when they were experimenting in the Caf. They took two Belgium waffles and placed soft-serve ice cream between them. Bassett realized that this was a creation that should be shared with the students.
In order to sell Sweet Square’s products at Vanguard, she needed to receive approval from the school, acquire several work permits, and create a support team to help her run the business, according to Bassett.
“I was told no by the university five times. I went to different people and they [said] there is a contract between the cafeteria and the school. You can’t sell on campus,” Bassett said.
According to Bassett, this did not stop her. She went from person to person until she got the ahead to sell Sweet Squares on campus by Katy Cvitanich, the General Manager of the Café.
“I came into the meeting ready to argue my case and she [Katy Cvitanich] says, ‘Yeah, that sounds like a great idea, just go for it,’” Bassett said.
With Bon Appetit’s approval, Bassett began the legal process to properly start her business. During the summer Bassett had to find a shared kitchen space where she could prepare the batter for her waffles, as well as acquire a business permit and a seller’s license.
According to Bassett, she hopes to continue her business beyond college.
“I think I want to own a food truck next, and then eventually a store,” Bassett said.
As a business major, Bassett uses the skills she has learned in class with this entrepreneurial endeavor. According to Bassett, she hopes Sweet Squares can one day be a self-running business that she can manage from a distance. She believes this would allow her to receive a steady income as she achieves some of her other life goals such as dancing/acting in films and one day raising a family.
Students can follow Sweet Squares for updates on Instagram @sweetsquares_ for new menu items and where they will be popping up next to sell their ice cream sandwiches.