Tuesday, September 22, 2009

the little lemonade stand that could... and did.

All summer (ie. SINCE THE DAY SCHOOL LET OUT), Liam wanted to have a lemonade stand. We're not sure whether the idea came from a movie, TV, a book, or talks at school, but it was clear that the idea was firmly and irrevocably entrenched in that little steel trap of a brain of his.

A lemonade stand, we would have.

Unfortunately, we live on a rather quiet street. One where, even on the weekend, he'd be lucky to have one or two people walk by in an hour, with no guarantee of actually selling any lemonade. While I recognize that part of having a lemonade stand is just the experience itself, I didn't want him to be all geared up and excited about it (too late!) only to be bored and disappointed when no one came by.

Thus was born one of my crazier parenting ideas.

Each year, Gatineau hosts the Festival des Montgolfieres de (or Hot Air Balloon Festival of) Gatineau. This festival draws tens of thousands of people - and happens to be only a few blocks from our house. And watching hot air balloons can be thirsty work...

See where I'm going with this?

Not only did I not want him to be discouraged if his first financial venture was a failure, I also didn't want to put much of my own thought and effort into a project that wouldn't be worth it. However with the Air Balloon Festival so close by, we would be guaranteed a high amount of foot traffic comprised of people who were out for the day expecting to spend money. And if you were hot and thirsty, would you rather buy a drink from a hairy, sweating carny covered in prision tattoos or a couple of bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and adorably eager six year olds

No brainer, right? Right.

Besides, see how cute the stand built by Peter and Léa's dad was?

lemonade stand - sunny
They sold cans of pop, bottled water, freshly homemade cookies and 
rice crispy squares, and of course lemonade.

And see how cute Liam's friend, Léa, was? How could anyone say no??

thumbs up
And see how the kids charged $1.00 for each glass of lemonade??

yeah lemonade
And see how most people didn't even bat an eye at what 
we, at first, thought was a pretty step price?

Even though I was the one who initially came up with the pricing, I was more than slightly nervous that people would balk at the notion of paying a dollar for a cup of lemonade or a cookie from a couple of kids. Now to be fair, these were big glasses, 12 oz I think, and the cookies and rice crispy squares were alse biggie-size, but still.

The main motivation for the pricing was simple convenience and had little to do with profit margins. Both Liam and Léa are only six years old! Although Léa's mom and I worked daily with the two of them for a couple of weeks leading up to the lemonade stand, we knew they wouldn't be able to quickly and easily add, substract and multiples of $.50 or $.75 in order to make change. Making everything a dollar meant that they would be able to take on the responsability of taking money and making correct change. It was, after all, their lemonade stand. Neither I, nor Léa's dad wanted to have to jump up to make change for each customer.

lemonade stand - melo
Some of the profits found their way into our stomachs... or those of our siblings, as was 
the case with Léa's little sister, Mélody (or Mélo). Mmmm, marshmallow-y goodness.

liam - teeth
Between serving customers, Liam and Léa compared their recently 
lost teeth. But see how Liam's permanent teeth came in behind his baby 
teeth? For awhile there he had two rows of teeth. Like a shark. 
Ew, eh?

All in all it was a very successful day. Not only did Liam and Léa get to finally (FINALLY!!) have their lemonade stand, but they learned how to make change, how to work together, how to greet and serve customers, and (hopefully) that hard work is required in order to be successful and to make money.

And make money, they did.

After repaying their generous financial backers (ahem, their parents), their profit for the afernoon was $72. Since they decided earlier in the planning that they would donate 25% of their profits to a charity, after sending $18 to World Vision, they each earned $27.

Not bad for an afternoon and a couple of six year olds, eh?


  1. Congratulations, Liam (and Mom and Dad)!!!! Job well done!! It was hard work, I know, but the little children supported by World Vision will be blessed. That was a great idea!! You sure have great parents, Liam!! THey worked hard to help you with the lemonade stand. Great job to all of you!!! Love, Nana

  2. 1. Best limonade stand ever! How fun!

    2. I love that they donated 25%, that's sweet!


  3. Why pay a dollar (or more) for water when you can get YUMMY LEMONADE at the best ever Lemonade Stand, made by Peter (you could sell those) and YUMMY COOKIES made by Amy and her friend!!!!!!!! What a success and the 2 little merchants were adorable. I can't believe all the money!!! Those World Vision people are going to be so happy to have you caring about them, Liam. Great idea, Amy, about the festival time for the famous lemonade stand. Love ya all, A. Dianne

    PS Great grandma loved all the teeth, Liam!!!!!

  4. Wow!! That's great!! Talk about having a drive. I don't think anyone could say no to those cute kids and that beautifully colorful stand. You'll have to do it again next year! Miss you guys!
    - Sara

  5. Impressive. nice twist with the charity, that is fantastic. Love the tooth shot!

  6. This is so amazing! What a wonderful idea and how cool of you parents for making it such a fun experience for them. I always wanted to do a lemonade stand, but was too shy to get it started on my own.

    This could be a defining moment in your son's life in so many ways :)

  7. That is a great stand! Looks like they had a blast!

  8. Yeah! Glad the lemonade stand was so successful! What does Liam plan to do with his earnings? Super fun post, Amy. Great job on the stand, Peter.

  9. Yes, it WAS me who asked and WOW! What a great experience for Liam and Léa. Way to go!

  10. That looks like it was great! :)

  11. I wish I could have had a lemonade stand that was that nice. It looked amazing! And of course the service looked wonderful. Amy, you have some great ideas. When we finally get to have kids, I will probably be calling. :) Love that you had them give to charity. Good Job Guys! Auntie Kristi


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