By Shane P. Donnelly
A number of student-run projects have sprung up on campus recently, through entrepreneurship classes, the Center for Entrepreneurship in Liberal Education in Beloit (CELEB) located downtown just above Gallery ABBA,and the pure incentive to make an extra buck. A few weeks ago Ben Siebert ‘12 and Aman Bharti ‘12 started BAM Sass Daddy, a Sunday night sandwich and soup delivery service operated out of their off-campus house. Inspired by his previous restaurant experience, Siebert wanted to offer Beloit students a new and local option on Sunday nights besides Palermo’s or Jimmy John’s. He and his housemate Bharti, using what he learned in an entrepreneurship class, teamed up with Executive Sous Chef Nathaniel Fann ‘12 to open BAM Sass Daddy to the public. With their third week of business coming up, the experience has been positive, but challenging.
“The first week was a big learning experience. We weren’t sure how people would respond, and some orders got delayed as we tried to keep up with the rush,” says Siebert. After selling 32 sandwiches the first week, their orders more than doubled the second week. “We definitely couldn’t have done it without Nate. Ben and I thought we could do it between the two of us, but we quickly learned we had to expand,” explained Bharti. They have seven people working this Sunday, and have prepared for 100 orders, hoping to prevent delays. “We’re relying on student feedback to see what works and what doesn’t. We’re hoping to start next semester off with a bang and introduce an expanded menu with rotating specials,” says Siebert. They deliver all over campus, including the Hendricks Center and off-campus houses and are looking into working with Coffee on College in the near future. “Like us on Facebook! The more feedback the better,” Siebert concludes. Their housemates, Kei Ishii ‘12 and Neal Conway ‘12, are also entrepreneurs. Together they started Forever Fish, a fish rental business with assistance from CELEB. After making an initial investment used to purchase cheap tanks off of Craigslist, they acquired an office in CELEB and started breeding their own fish. The business is aimed at special interest houses and Greek houses, where students can pool together money. Students sign a semester-long contract with Forever Fish, who takes care of all maintenance and fish care – all students have to do is remember to feed them. “We’ve only had three customers so far – French/Slow Food House, Aman, and Chinese professor Daniel Youd, who has one in his office. It’s not as many customers as we’d like, but our costs are low and, we’ve made money,” explains Ishii. Starting with 20 fish of various species, they’ve crossbred numerous species and are currently working on breeding a blue and yellow “Beloit College” fish.