The Anatomy of a Lemonade Stand

by | Mar 28, 2019 | Lifestyle

SweetBay living invokes a laid-back style to counter this fast-paced world. Which is why it’s appealing to adults. And great for kids, who can roam the community on bikes and scooters while never being too far from home. Or, if you’d like to encourage your children to earn a little extra money this summer while learning the finer points of entrepreneurship, consider helping them set up a lemonade stand.

A Brief History

Lemonade stands have a long and unique history, dating back to the late 19th century. The New York Times made mention of the little pop-up shops on the streets of New York City in 1880 where you could get a cold glass of sugary lemon water for five cents as opposed to the 15 cents charged in most bars. And while these early models may have been owned and operated by adults, we mostly associate lemonade stands with kids.

For example, one early notable proprietor of a lemonade stand was a 10-year-old Dutch immigrant named Edward Bok. He first started selling glasses of ice water to women and children who passed by his home in horse-drawn carriages on their way to Coney Island around 1873. While the men watered the horses and wet their own whistles in a nearby cigar shop, Bok made sure the other passengers were well hydrated before the remainder of the journey for a penny a glass. As competition moved in, Bok got creative. He added sugar and lemon to his water that he began selling for three cents a piece. Later in life he would write a Pulitzer Prize-winning, biographical book titled, The Americanization of Edward Bok, that detailed his early exploits in what many American kids still use to keep adults (and each other) refreshed during the heat of summer.

Fuel the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Setting up and operating a lemonade stand is a great time for a youngster to develop business acumen. He or she must learn accounting and inventory. They must market to the public in order to let folks know where their lemonade stand is located and just how good their product is. Running a lemonade stand is also a great way to learn manners, how to communicate with others, and ultimately, customer service. The latter of which is an important pillar in any business no matter what position you hold in your career.

What You Need to Set Up

Lemonade stands are really easy to set up and operate, making them very cost-effective businesses. First, you’ll need a table and some chairs. Plastic folding tables and chairs are relatively inexpensive, durable, and easy to carry around. Next, you’ll need Dixie or Solo cups. It was okay to serve lemonade in glasses 150 years ago, but for sanitary reasons, we’d suggest plastic cups. Get the smaller variety so there’s less waste and offer a recycling bin for those who drink their lemonade on the spot.

Consider the container that’ll hold the sweet lemony beverage. The classic style is a glass pitcher. A modern means is a water cooler with a spout used by sports teams. But, for a more nostalgic experience, we’d suggest the former option. Plus the glass pitcher allows patrons to see what they’re drinking.

You must decorate the stand. People judge books by their covers. That’s why we’re providing artwork to adorn each stand should you choose to use it. This is also just good marketing. Make sure you grab the attention of all passersby whether they’re walking, biking, or driving. Find artwork to use for your stand here.

Decide on an effective way to hold the money. You could use anything from a metal lockbox to an old fish bowl. However, the see-through fishbowl allows potential customers to see how well business is going; it’s like an indirect customer review. It might even inspire some to tip.

In case you’re not able to be there every time your kid wants to set up and sell lemonade, you may consider providing them with a means to get their equipment around. The classic Radio Flyer or any kind of wagon they can tow either on foot or behind a bike meets that criteria.

Finally, of course, you need lemonade. There are all kinds of recipes out there. Powders, too, which are easy to mix. Kids can keep those on hand, along with water and ice, to make more lemonade when they’re running low. Decorate the pitcher by placing slices of lemon around the rim and in the drink.

Mom, Dad, Country Time is a pretty great powdered-lemonade-mix brand. Just last year, they pledged $60,000 to pay legal fees for lemonade stands that were shut down and fined. It’s a good feeling to have the backing of a large corporation that obviously wants to see your children succeed in their little business.

The Sweet(Bay) Spots

There are a lot of really great spots to set up a lemonade stand around the SweetBay community. However, we’re going to single out a few of the best where folks are liable to pass by on foot, on a bike, or in a vehicle. See the map below.

Around University Academy is a great spot with a lot of room for multiple stands. You have Discovery Loop, a main thoroughfare, running right in front of the school. This is when the brightly colored decorations you’ll place around the setup are going to come in handy. Consider the corner of Discovery Loop and Heartleaf Avenue where you can catch motorists slowing down.

The parks are always great places to sell to folks who are out on a stroll or bike ride. The green spaces of Veranda and Chickadee Parks as well as Academy Square are sweet spots for foot traffic. Plus, there’s parking nearby for motorists. Lastly, all along Kestrel Street and especially up by Kestrel Park Pool are going to be sought-after sites to sell lemonade.

Summer in Florida is hot. That’s the reason many of us like it down here so much. But we also like the various amenities that help us escape the heat on those especially sultry days, including any activity that takes place in and around water, and the various refreshments the heat gives us an excuse to consume. Put an ice-cold cup of lemonade in front of anybody with sweat beading on their forehead and they’ll happily pay for it. Even more so when they recognize that a kid is working to make a few extra bucks. That’s the American dream.

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