Community Interview: Sherpa Energy Squares

Sherpa Energy Squares

In an effort to get to know our neighbors and introduce our members to the local businesses around us, we periodically conduct interviews with business owners in our community. Founded on the principle that energy bars can and should taste amazing, Sherpa Energy Squares have become a popular item in our locals market. We sat down with founder, Tricia Cariffe, to learn more about where it all started.

Find Sherpa Energy online:
Facebook: Sherpa Energy Squares

About Sherpa Energy Squares…

Sherpa Energy Squares is the ultimate snack for the health obsessed, time deficient foodie! Sherpa Squares are on-the-go nutrition that are both flavorful and nutritious. Available at a number of local shops and businesses throughout San Diego, Sherpa Squares are vegan, soy-free, and full of plant-based protein, fiber, and Omega-3’s. 

Available in Nut-Free Apple Blueberry, Dark Chocolate & Berry, and Dark Chocolate & Peanut Butter (our personal favorite), they’re sure to satisfy cravings and keep you going throughout the day!

Sherpa Energy Square

What’s your role and how long have you been in business?

I’m Tricia Cariffe and I’m the owner and operator of Sherpa Energy Squares. It started just as a side gig and then I started doing it full time about 2 years ago. I’ve had the product in some form or another for about about 6 years, but really got serious 2 years ago. When I started, I had gone on a vegan cleanse and was struggling to find the right things to eat, so I started playing around making stuff on my own. After a while, friends started asking me for it, then my boss (I was working for Water’s catering at the time) suggested I sell it — that she would even sell it. The rest is history.

Tell us more about how you came up with the concept. 

Sherpas are part of a traditional Buddhist ethnic group in the Himalayas of northeastern Nepal and were previously known for being nomadic high altitude farmers and traders. Because of their endurance and mountaineering abilities, they play a vital role in Mt. Everest expeditions, often being hired as guides and porters to carry the bulk of the physical load for the treks. I chose the name Sherpa Squares as playful tribute to the Sherpa’s spirit of balance, endurance, and resourcefulness. 

Sherpa Energy Squares ingredients
Tricia Cariffe of Sherpa Energy Squares

Where do you find inspiration? 

Everywhere, really … music, texture, fabric. I’m a very visually-oriented person, so anything that catches my eye also gets my mind going. Also the busy-ness of movement and people, which isn’t something that many people notice or even think about, but I find it fascinating.

Did you always see yourself doing something like this? 

Not at all. I actually have a degree in economics, which I got to make my parents happy. I worked in an office after college, but wasn’t happy. So I went back to school for a business management program. I wasn’t sure exactly what I would do with it, but I knew it would be more useful than my economics degree. And I have always been such a foodie; my friends and loved ones were always suggesting I be involved with food somehow. I guess now we know how!

What was your first or most memorable job?

My very first job was at Captain Kidd’s Fish and Chips when I was 15. I worked the cash register and then got promoted to fry cook. I lasted about a year but finally went crazy from the smell (eau de Fish n’ Chips?). But I did learn some very valuable kitchen skills, which I’m still using, so I’m super grateful for that.

Do you have anything exciting coming up in the future or is there anything else we should know about your business?

I want to continue expanding on my snack line and I have lots of different ideas. It will definitely be something gluten-free, non-gmo, vegan, and a snacky take on a sweet/savory combo. Something with big, bold flavor that is unabashedly sweet and savory.

I’m also teaching baking workshops at Treehouse Kitchen and other spaces around San Diego. They’re super fun and a great way to enhance or learn some new kitchen skill. And we get to eat everything we make, so…

What do you do when you’re not working? How do you like to spend your free time?

I’m a runner at heart, and I used to play beach volleyball, both of which I still love. Also mountain biking, swimming… most everything outdoors. But I honestly don’t have much time these days, so I do a lot of day-dreaming about it instead.

Sherpa Energy Squares

The next few questions are a series of rapid fire, don’t-think-too-much, one-word responses to see how people think on their feet. They usually provide some pretty interesting insight!

How would you describe yourself in one word?


What are you afraid of?

Anaconda – don’t laugh, I have a very real fear of this!

What’s your biggest pet peeve?


Favorite food?


If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?

A traveling chef — I’d get to geek out with other food people and see the world at the same time!

Thanks so much to Tricia for her time and willingness to share her story with us! We carry the Dark Chocolate & Peanut Butter Sherpa Squares at all three BLOC locations, so stop by to pick up a bag!  

Do you work for, or own a business in Solana Beach, Leucadia, or Carlsbad? Contact us to set up your own interview and feature!

Sherpa Energy Square photos by Cowlick Appeal

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