Ten-year-old Josh and his 7-year-old sister, Naomi, might have the best lemonade stand going in their small town situated over the hill from Silicon Valley, California. It all started when their mom asked, “Where does money come from?”
When they answered, “from birthday presents and the bank,” their mom and English teacher Ingrid Adams responded with an emphatic: “No! Money comes from work!”
That was the moment she realized she had work to do in order to change their perspective on money. That motivation was the spark to fire up the kids this spring to become mini entrepreneurs in a way that made sense to them: the time-honored tradition of setting up a humble lemonade stand.
Ingrid knew the cardinal rule of good business. Location, location, location. The front stoop of their townhouse is on a fairly busy street, where families drive to and from community soccer fields, a popular dog park and a weekend farmer’s market. It would likely attract throngs of thirsty families on a hot day.
The first step: Investors in this American kind of entrepreneurship. Ingrid footed the bill and made it clear she was saving the receipts for reimbursement in this business plan: $12 for grocery store lemonade and $11 from the local dollar store for cups, pitchers and poster board for the sign. Their grandmother lent them her TV tray for a table.
Holding a sign, waving it back and forth, Josh attracted attention to the “drive-up” stand. SUVs and minivans stopped as Naomi poured the lemonade and Josh delivered it curbside to adults and thirsty kids in car seats in the back. Ingrid kept a watchful eye close by.
Always with a kind “thanks for your business, and have a great day” comment, the neighborhood customers consistently said “keep the change!” as they pulled away.
“That didn’t encourage math skills, because they didn’t have to calculate change,” says Ingrid, “but it helped the bottom line.”
I’d invest in Josh and Naomi. In fact, who knows, by this summer, they may be imagining a franchise and creating a “Find the Closest Lemonade Stand” app for our phones — nostalgic traditions with modern technology!
As the mercury rises, watch for lemonade stands popping up where you live. If you approach one of these businesses operated by cheerful kids, do stop.
You’ll quench your thirst and be applauding their enthusiasm and good work with your support.