Tales of Lemonade Day
This past Saturday there were lemonade stands all over town. Thirsty clients could find old-fashioned lemonade, raspberry lemonade, coconut lemonade, peach lemonade, mango lemonade and even sugar-free lemonade.
It was Lemonade Day, a national idea that teaches children about entrepreneurship. John Georges, CEO of Georges Enterprises, and Todd Graves, founder Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, brought the event to Louisiana in 2010. The organization’s mission is to empower youth to take ownership of their lives and become productive members of society. Each child who registers receives a workbook that shares such lessons as creating budgets, serving customers and repaying investors.
By midday at “Lemonade with a Twist,” young Tyroland had already sold 50 glasses of her lemonade. Her stand had eight flavors plus plates of fried chicken and macaroni and cheese.
“My mom thought it would be a good idea to offer lots of flavors because it gives customers more reasons to buy,” said the eight-year-old.
A few doors down, a trio of five-year-old entrepreneurs, Bailey, Kayne and Alian, were selling their homemade lemonade.
“It’s really good because it was made with love,” said Bailey.
“This is a good thing,” said Momma Dee, who was supervising the children. “It teaches them something honest. They learn about being self-employed and being an entrepreneur, how you start small and work hard and build a business.”
Slugga’s, operated by 13-year-old Charles, was also doing a brisk business. He estimated he’d made $60 and the day was still young.
“I’m going to use the money to buy my mother a really nice Mother’s Day present,” he said.
He thinks the key to his success came from keeping his establishment neat and clean. He also said he was up late the night before making his lemonade.
“It was made from my heart, so it has to be good,” he said.
From their brilliant yellow tent, Madison, Miguel and Kyle sold a lot of lemonade to people headed to Jazz Fest along Bayou Road. Madison, 12, wants to be a plastic surgeon when she grows up and said she enjoyed working with the customers. Miguel, 8, said the key to their success was offering customers free samples. Five-year-old Kyle thinks it’s a good idea to make your stand feel like a party.
It was also Kyle’s idea to donate some of the stand’s profits to the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. His mother often reads him the book, “Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand, a true life story of a very brave young boy.
On St. Bernard Avenue nine spirited children were energetically dancing and chanting to pull in their clients. Their stand featured fancy lemon-like souvenir cups. Aisha Birden was the adult helping these kids learn all the business basics.
“We’ve been doing this since the beginning of Lemonade Days,” she said. “We have regular customers who come back year after year. They bring their old cups and we refill them. This year the money the kids earn will go toward a trip to Sea World.”
Seven-year old Juriah, with her brilliant blue-haired wig, was the stand’s spark plug. She danced and waved at potential customers yelling, “Come get your ice-cold lemonade. It’s really good.”
As I left she smiled broadly and said, “Thank you. Have a good day. Come again.”
Clearly, her customer service skills are pointed toward success.