One day Jack announced that he wanted to make some money. Clearly he had made the connection between wage earning and toy acquisition. Flushed with the entrepreneurial fever, he decided he wanted to have a lemonade stand. Of course that meant – right now – at four o’clock on Thursday afternoon. It was a determined spirit that we weren’t going to be able to redirect so we ran with it. We talked to both boys about the great idea of a lemonade stand and encouraged them to make a plan instead of throwing one together. They created a fail proof business plan that included:
- Advertising – colorful hand drawn posters announcing Saturday’s event
- Demographic Analysis – thirsty grandmas and grandpas galore walking dogs, riding bikes and golf carts past our RV all day long = ca-ching, ca-ching
- Cost of Doing Business Report – how much will grandma pay for that glass of lemonade that she charged 2 cents for (fresh squeezed) at HER lemonade stand?
- Purchase of Supplies – having qualified for a small business loan from dad
- Setting up Shop – creating that irresistible atmosphere
- Crash Course in Customer Service – salesmen must be freshly showered, nicely dressed, handsomely coifed AND remember that grandmas are persnickety about germs – no sneezing, scratching funky body parts or spitting while serving!
On Saturday at 9:30 a.m. the shingle was hung and the boys’ lemonade stand was open for business. Passersby were enticed, lured actually, with the sweetest invitation to stop by for a cold one. They had regular or sugar free, treats for FeeFee and IOUs available. Some walked by and smiled. Some weren’t thirsty. Some had schedules to keep and this 3 minute lemonade stand stop was not on it. Others skidded their golf carts to an abrupt stop to get in on the fun. Most couldn’t help but rush back with money to get to know these two little boys who had a wonderful idea.Even the community police officer stopped by. Joey, a tough, retired New York under cover cop (a big teddy bear actually), caught the thrill of the event instantaneously as he pulled up and demanded a permit from the boys. Next thing you know he had them spread eagle on the squad car scolding them over the charge of “having an illegal lemonade stand on the premises!”
Officer Joey couldn’t pull himself away. He shared several stories of his exciting law enforcement career but painfully recalled how it demanded so much time away from his wife and three children. One day, in the middle of his busy life, he got a call telling him that his wife and 14 year old son were killed in a car accident. Joey totally got the lemonade stand. And so did we.
Ben and Jack were bored to distraction by 1:20, just ten minutes shy of closing time. They learned a lot. The boys were each a cool $21 richer by 2p.m. That night while Jack lay next to me saying his prayers he thanked God for the lemonade stand and the money it made and he added, “God, you can always have my lemonade for free.”