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Successful Lemonade Stand

lemonade stand

Running a successful lemonade stand was one of our summer highlights. Here’s the thing, you never know when the big activity of the summer will occur. Often, it’s something small that turns into something big. Kids will surprise you all the time with what resonates.

This summer we opted to do a little less over-the-top travel and focus on local fun. After our combined work and play trip to London and Paris, we’ve focused on family.

That means lots of time at our pool in Connecticut playing pool games and digging around in my vegetable garden. While the donut-Olympic diving game might make the highlight reel; the biggest hit of summer was the American Girl lemonade stand.

Successful Lemonade Stand

We got the idea when Williams Sonoma sent us an adorable American Girl Lemonade Stand Kit. My girls were eager to use it, but I was unsure our Brooklyn apartment was ideal. And our super rural Connecticut retreat is so far from traffic I thought we’d never raise a cent. I came up with the perfect location-- my parent’s subdivision outside of Annapolis.

On my recent trip home with the kids, we plotted the ultimate lemonade stand. Thanks to careful planning and execution, we are going to send a large check to a favorite charity. Here’s how we did it.

How to Create a Great Lemonade Stand

Location, location, location. Scout out your location and pick the peak hours. We opted for a TGIF lemonade stand. We started at 5pm thinking we’d get people strolling on the bike path and heading home from work on Friday. It worked.

Partner with a charity. Sure people will buy lemonade from cute, industrious kids, but they get even more generous when there is a charity involved. Since I grew up in Annapolis, I feel like the water is a part of my childhood. My girls inherited my love of the ocean and marine-life. We all decided that preserving the Chesapeake and the animals that call that place home to be the perfect match.

Market Smart. The kids created colorful “save the bay” signs to announce the event. My mom posted about the stand on her neighborhood's online community forum. Grammy also placed a few “well-connected” calls to friends to make sure we had some sales (thank you to my second mom Mrs. Burns for being an early customer!).

Plan a Menu. You’ll increase sales if you have more than just lemonade. The treats were a big success. We had cookies and cupcakes. And since not everyone loves lemonade, we offered bottled water. We were banking on some car traffic so we had “window menus” we could give to the drivers. This improved our sales.

Smart Pricing. We were going for a volume business. We priced the lemonade at $.50 (with $.25 refills) and treats under a dollar. Keeping prices low meant folks were very willing to round up and donate the change.

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Successful Lemonade Stand

What you’ll need (print a downloadable checklist here):

Table decoration
Trash bags
Change & Money Box

The Williams Sonoma American Girl set has just about everything you need. You’ll spend about $20 more dollars on supplies from the grocery store. TIP: we bought a case of water from the local grocery store—that was a big hit with the cyclists.

When it comes to snacks, we made Foodstirs chocolate chip cookies from the new Foodstirs mixes (they sold out in the first 45 minutes). My mom also made lemonade cupcakes.

Successful Lemonade Stand

What we learned? People are incredibly generous. We raised $173.46 dollars in two and half hours. The girls are donating $120 of the profits to charity and Momtrends is going to match that. The rest of the money went to supplies and a small token to the girls for their hard work. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation will be getting $240. That’s a pretty powerful gift from two little girls.

Lemonade stands also bring people together. My family met new neighbors. People were incredibly interested in why the girls picked that charity. The “customers” also shared Bay memories with the girls and applauded their pluck.

I learned that my girls are not afraid of hard work. My mom was responsible for overseeing “production” of the product. But she didn’t do all the heavy lifting. First of all, they were involved in shopping and menu planning. The girls also made all the signs. Then there was the cooking. My older daughter squeezed the juice out of 36 lemons by hand and the little one mixed and measured.

When it came time to set up shop the girls were energized. The temperatures were in the high 90s, but they never complained. With high spirits, they waved at the cars coming and going and perfected their sales pitch. They were gracious and focused. I think I just might have two future Mom Bosses on my hands!

A huge thank you to American Girl and Williams Sonoma for sending the kits. You can buy your own here. And the girls loved the cooking class they took at the Annapolis Mall Williams Sonoma store—they learned a new lemonade recipe (for next year) and how to make delicious lemon squares.

This is not a sponsored post.

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