Lemonade Stands: A Summer Tradition

It's a cliché, but it's also true — many American children enter the business world during the summer months by selling homemade lemonade. Gillian Kohl of member station KNAU serves up an audio postcard from the lemonade stands of Flagstaff, Ariz.

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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

It is hot out there. As we heard earlier in the program, cities across the country are experiencing record high temperatures. Get this: in Death Valley National Park here in California, the thermometer hit 126 degrees, which beats a record set in 1933. One-twenty-six, now that could make you really thirsty, and what you would want would be a neighborhood glass of lemonade.

In Flagstaff, Arizona, a group of young lemonade entrepreneurs have found their way to success. From member-station KNAU, Gillian Ferris Kohl reports that the kids' lemonade is both gourmet and philanthropic.

GILLIAN FERRIS KOHL reporting:

Seven-year-old Giovanna Sol(ph) and a few friends have been preparing for their first lemonade stand for two days. Now everything's ready, right down to the colorful sale sign.

(Soundbite of people talking)

Ms. GIOVANNA SOL (Lemonade Stand Operator): My sign says fresh-squeezed lemonade.

KOHL: Giovanna, her little brother Leo, and friends Isabella and Julianna have organized the event. They stand in Giovanna's kitchen, sticky up to their elbows as they make fresh strawberry lemonade with a little help from mom, Joya Woods(ph).

Ms. JOYA WOODS (Mother of Giovanna Sol): We're using a recipe from grandma. We call it grandma's best lemonade, and you have to make the sugar syrup. That way you can make sure the sugar dissolves into the lemonade so you don't have granules. No Country Time, fresh squeezed.

KOHL: Grandma's best lemonade isn't the only fresh idea at this sale. The kids have decided not to spend the profits on themselves, but on homeless animals instead.

ISABELLA (Lemonade Stand Operator): My name's Isabella, and I'm eight. I wanted to do a lemonade stand because I wanted to raise money for the animal shelter, and I thought it would be really fun, and it's my first time.

KOHL: For a group of first-timers, the kids seem to be natural entrepreneurs. They take their homemade signs and two jugs of Grandma's best lemonade to a neighborhood park.

(Soundbite of kids cheering)

KOHL: They set up right next to a soccer field where a sweaty group plays in 90-degree weather. Then the kids deliver the sales pitch.

Unidentified Children: One, two, three. Fresh-squeezed lemonade for sale, $.25.

KOHL: Halftime brings a rush of customers.

Unidentified Child: I think our yelling works.

Unidentified Child: So do you want strawberry or regular?

Unidentified Child: Two regulars.

KOHL: Soccer players, runners, and dog-walkers line up to buy Grandma's best lemonade. At $.25 a glass, sales are swift. The kids start swinging deals for some of their customers.

JULIANNA: It's free because you have a dog.

KOHL: Six-year-old Julianna even offers a glass of lemonade to an Irish Setter named Ollie.

JULIANNA: Aww, he doesn't like it.

KOHL: Ollie quickly cleanses his pallet with a Dixie cup full of water. There's only a little bit of strawberry lemonade left by the time the soccer players head back to the field

(Soundbite of person drinking lemonade)

KOHL: The kids polish it off while Giovanna gets down to business.

Ms. SOL: We're going to count the money.

(Soundbite of change rattling)

Unidentified Child: I already counted. That's four.

Unidentified Child: It's eight, we have eight dollars.

KOHL: The final count seems to suit the kids just fine. After they clean up and take down their sign, the young philanthropists load up in the car and drive to the Second Chance Center for Animals. They want to make their sticky donation in person.

(Soundbite of music)

KOHL: For NPR News, I'm Gillian Ferris Kohl in Flagstaff, Arizona.

(Soundbite of music)

CHADWICK: DAY TO DAY, the thirst-quenching production from NPR News, with contributions from Slate.com. I'm Alex Chadwick.

NOAH ADAMS, host:

And I'm Noah Adams.

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