Several local kids and teens went into business on Saturday, taking their seats behind a venerable symbol of young capitalistic gumption, the lemonade stand.
Lemonade Day, an annual, national event organized on the local level by the Kenai and Soldotna Chambers of Commerce, encourages kids to sell lemonade on a special day each summer, sharpening their math, marketing, salesmanship, lemonade mixing and baking skills.
Brothers Dallin, Landon, and Dereck Olsen set up a stand striped three different colors to represent the three kinds of beverage they sold — yellow, pink, and berry lemonade. Landon Olsen described how they had priced their merchandise.
“I took all the expenses, did some math, and figured out how much we’d have to sell to break even,” Olsen said.
The number turned out to be 56 cups of lemonade at 75 cents each.
Setting up their stand around 10:30 a.m. at the market in the parking lot of the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, the Olsens said sales started slow. Saturday’s wet and blustery morning may have been stifling business. Regular lemonade buyer Ginni DeLon — who said she had made a tradition of taking her family to all the Lemonade Day stands for the past several years — called it unprecedented bad weather.
“It’s probably the worst weather I’ve seen before,” DeLon said. “But they’re troopers.”
DeLon, a children’s director at Birch Ridge Community Church, said she began visiting the lemonade stands because she knew many of the children who participated.
“It gives the kids a chance to put themselves out in the community,” she said.
Tony Dunbar, owner of Big Daddy’s Pizza, said that early in the morning rain had been blowing sideways into the canopy where he’d helped his nieces Valerie Cazares and Charisma Watkins set up their lemonade stand in his restaurant’s parking lot.
They solved the problem by wrapping the canopy in a donated tarp. In addition to lemonade, Cazares and Watkins had baked 56 cupcakes to sell. Cazares said their method of pricing was a little less precise than the Olsens’.
“We just came up with it, I guess,” she said.
The lemonade sellers found locations for their stands by asking local business owners for space. Some were participating through groups such as the Kenai Boys and Girls Club. Others were doing it on their own. Some were raising money for personal use, while others such as Chelsea Lawrence and Taylor Waski — who set up their stand along the Kalifornsky Beach Road walking path outside the Footworks boot shop — were fundraising for other groups. Lawrence and Waski donated their profits to the Kenai Animal Shelter.
“I saw a cat and it didn’t have an eye and I felt sorry for it,” Lawrence said, explaining how she had chosen the recipient of her donation.
Paxton McKnight sold 75-cent cups of lemonade and $1 bags of popcorn — plus a $1.50 popcorn-lemonade combo — in the parking lot of the Go-Kart Race Track in Soldotna.
“People can go go-carting, have some lemonade, and go to Sushi Exchange,” he said, referring to a restaurant that shares the lot.
McKnight said he had made 8 gallons of lemonade and set a goal of earning $100.
“I want to get a few Lego sets,” McKnight said. “I’ve been saving up a long time, but didn’t have enough money.”