Pre-teen entrepreneurs turn donuts into dollars | Business | – Ahwatukee Foothills News

Areas of dense morning fog. Partly cloudy. High 67F. Winds light and variable..
A few clouds. Low 54F. Winds light and variable.
Updated: December 5, 2022 @ 10:15 am
Jaden and Aaliya Van Heel of Mini Donuts and Treats, Monday, March 21, 2022, in Tempe, Arizona. (David Minton/Staff Photographer)

Jaden and Aaliya Van Heel of Mini Donuts and Treats, Monday, March 21, 2022, in Tempe, Arizona. (David Minton/Staff Photographer)
A pre-teen brother and sister in Kyrene School District have found a unique way to earn a little bread.
Only Aaliya Van Heel, 12, and her 11-year-old brother Jaden aren’t making bread. They’re making donuts.
With a colorfully decorated kitchen-trailer advertising their business, Mini Donuts & Treats, the Tempe duo are tooling around the district, with plans to visit the farmers markets in Ahwatukee and Chandler as well as AZ Feastival events in the region.
Aaliya, a 7th grader at Pueblo Middle School, and Jaden, a Manitas 5th grader, started their business last year in direct response to mom Alexia Van Heel’s challenge.
“Last year we asked our parents to go to the trampoline park and other fun things and my mom said we were too expensive and we needed to get a J-O-B,” Aaliya explained.
“So we started thinking about what we wanted to do and thought an ice cream truck would be fun and my mom said we should also do mini donuts. Then one day my mom asked if we had our own business what would we name it,” she continued. “But we didn’t think she was serious. We decided on Mini Donuts & Treats, we started talking about everything we needed to do to make it happen and we did it.”
With their own website,, the siblings present a tempting array of donuts with what makes them special: three flavors of drizzle that can be combined with 14 different toppings for a seemingly endless array of offerings. Those toppings range from the expected powdered sugar, chocolate chips and sprinkles to somewhat more exotic ingredients like bacon bits, Fruity or Cocoa Pebbles, peanuts and pretzels and strawberries.
Their “donut extravaganza” concoctions include the donuts with drizzle and toppings of your choice with ice cream, although they also sell conventionally produced ice cream treats, popsicles and milk, soda and water.
The imagination that drove their creations is matched by a rare pre-teen ambition and work ethic.
They make the donuts themselves .
“Both know how to prepare and fry the donuts,” said their mom. “They enjoy cooking and have been experimenting since they were about 5 and 6 years old, primarily with sweet treats. They took a liking to baking/cooking when they were toddlers as I always included them in dinner prep and fun baking experiences.”
And they make them in a trailer that their dad, Spencer Van Heel, retrofitted to accommodate a kitchen.
That means when they’re catering private events or putting up stakes at events like farmers markets, “ they prepare the donuts and fry them in the the trailer’s fryer so they are “hot, fresh and ready to serve,” Alexia Van Heel said.
She added, “The trailer was a surprise.”
“They were not involved with the design and trailer purchase but they did assist with creating and designing the menu as well as determining what supplies and equipment we would need,” she said.
“Their mini-trailer was ordered and built last year,” she continued. “However, it did not meet the regulatory guidelines, which delayed our expected start date. My husband had to gut part of the trailer and install the appropriate equipment in order to meet the health department requirements to get our permit.”
And for anyone who wonders, Jaden and Aaliya have all the permits required for their mobile kitchen.
The siblings have taken their business to school festivals and their ninja competition at Hitsquad Ninja Gym. Starting this month, they’ll be hitting the farmers markets and Feastivals.
“They will be working two weekends a month up to three events per weekend,” their mom said. “They anticipate working a little more during their summer break.”
In a month of operation, she added, the business has been running smoothly.
“They’ve received so much love and support from our community and their customers,” Alexia Van Heel said.
As for what their profits, she added, “Most of the income they generate will be saved for college with a small allowance that they can use now.
“Aaliya would like to buy a turntable and drum set, Jaden has no plans as of now. They will also be responsible for paying back 50% of their start-up expense in addition to donating to their charity of choice, which is The No Ninja Left Behind Foundation.”
Your comment has been submitted.

There was a problem reporting this.
Log In
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *