Business partners and family members Ashley Carter and Karen Haskins bring sweetness with them wherever they go.
The two are the owners and operators of Sweet Rides, the newest food truck to grace the streets of Winchester that specializes in cakes, candy and whatever else your sweet tooth could be craving.
According to Karen, the truck is a partnership between two businesses she and her daughter-in-law individually own.
“(Ashley) owns Sassy Sweets, a company that specializes in custom wedding and birthday cakes, and I own Granny Boe and Auntie Jo’s Sweet Treats,” Karen said.
Granny Boe and Auntie Jo’s is officially new, Karen said, but it is the professional name she uses to sell the old-fashioned candies and other sweets that have been passed down through her family.
When Karen and Ashley began baking together, they decided to try getting a truck so they could take their show on the road.
“I’ve wanted one for a long time,” Karen said. “I researched and I love watching all of the cooking shows. Ashley talked about getting a cupcake truck at one time, so it just made sense that we do it together because we both have a lot to offer in the decadent dessert line.”
Since its inception in April, Sweet Rides has been found at numerous public events in Clark County, including the 2017 Beer Cheese Festival, but they also cater to the schools in the county.
Karen, who spent many years as an educator and principal, said one of her goals when starting the business was to help out teachers.
“Teachers and staff only get 20 to 30 minutes of lunch each day,” she said. “So we wanted to go (to the schools). I’m a retired principal and I know how limited they are on time, so Ashley and I would go and serve a nice lunch there with a dessert and we made sure we got it out quickly so they didn’t have to wait.”
Ashley said Winchester has been almost overwhelmingly supportive since they began their new endeavor.
“The first day, we went to the courthouse downtown, and it was amazing,” Ashley said. “We didn’t know how it would go our first day out and all these people showed up. It was just amazing.”
The idea of using a truck to deliver baked dessert items was a bit of an experiment as well, the pair said.
“We work very close together in the truck, it’s a good thing we love each other,” Karen joked. “But the good thing about a truck is you don’t have to bake it all right there. You can have it pre-baked and have it ready. We usually bake all day the day before so it’s fresh and ready to go.”
Both women bring some signature items to the Sweet Rides menu.
“I do strawberry cakes and a caramel cake that’s really good,” Ashley said. “People really like my icing, my butter cream.”
Karen offers candy recipes that have been passed down through her family for three generations.
“Peanut butter roll is the favorite,” she said. “And divinity, a confection made very similar to peanut butter roll except you don’t roll it out. I make all different flavors of divinity.”
She also makes a wide variety of pie babies.
“I’ve made those since I was a little girl,” Karen said.
The truck will also serve a hot item as well as lemonade for lunches, Ashley said.
Ashley and Karen say they feel the new business venture has brought them closer as family members.
“I think it has added to our relationship,” Karen said. “I feel closer to Ashley now that we’ve gone into this together.”
“We’ve gotten to have long conversations on our rides,” she said. “We’ve gotten to talk about it all.”
Ashley said the best way to inquire about bringing Sweet Rides to a business or event is through Facebook.
“(Karen) has a page for Granny Boe and Aunty Jo’s Sweet Treats and I’m Sassy Sweets,” Ashley said. “We’re going to make one for Sweet Ride itself, but everything has taken off so fast we haven’t had time to do it yet.”
The truck has the capacity to serve as many as 1,000 customers, Karen said.
Sweet Rides will be at as many community events as Ashley and Karen can get to, they said. They will also take the truck to businesses and organizations upon request in the Winchester and greater Lexington area.
“We strive to be local,” Karen said. “We’ve also gone to schools in Lexington, Madison County and Montgomery County. We’re very hopeful that when school starts back, we’ll be going to a lot of schools. We love being in Winchester and selling in Winchester, though.” §