Peninsula youth participate in Lemonade Days in June 2017. (Photo provided by the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce)

Peninsula youth participate in Lemonade Days in June 2017. (Photo provided by the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce)

Sweet and savvy

Kids get business training through lemonade stands

Saturday’s little entrepreneurs are not only predicted to be sweet, but also savvy.

For the ninth year in a row, the Soldotna and Kenai Chambers are hosting Lemonade Day — a free community program that teaches youth in the central peninsula how businesses operate. Luckily for passersby, those businesses are lemonade stands.

Sara Hondel, the tourism and education manager at the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, said they had prepared for more kids than those who registered, but that participation is averaging what it did pre-pandemic.

“We didn’t really meet our goal but we’re still happy,” she said.

Lemonade Day was canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, and Hondel said everyone is ready for Saturday’s event.

“It feels very exciting,” she said. “The kids are really excited to be out.”

Each participant received a business backpack with an educational workbook inside, which includes information on how to create budgets, set profit-making goals, repay investors, give back to the community and practice great customer service. There are also 40 developmental assets as part of the educational program, which emphasize the importance of values such as safety, service and integrity.

Lemonade Day began with the vision to cultivate a culture of entrepreneurial spirit in Alaska. Hondel said the program is open to children ranging in age from prekindergarten to high school, but that a majority of the kids are between third and sixth grade.

As of Thursday, there were 23 participants registered for the event.

Community members are encouraged to support the kids by purchasing a cup from a lemonade stand at various locations around the central peninsula.

Hondel said the kids are encouraged to pay back any investors with the proceeds of their businesses at the end of Lemonade Day. If there are no investors, kids have the option to keep the profits or donate some to a charity of their choosing.

“We feel that the kids are going to have some phenomenal stands this year,” Hondel said.

In Soldotna, kids will be selling lemonade at Sweeney’s Clothing, Credit Union 1, Yo Taco’s, Kaladi Brothers, Trustworthy Hardware, Shops Around the Corner market, Beemun’s Variety and True Value, Soldotna Professional Pharmacy, Bear Botanicals CBD, Three Little Moon’s Daycare, Everything Bagels, The Salvation Army, Alaska WildGear Clothing, and the Kenai River Sportfishing Association.

In the Kalifornsky Beach Area, stands will be at Maile Heating and Cooling and Too Good To Be Used.

In Kenai, stands will be at Charis Place, the Kenai Chamber of Commerce, Jasmin’s Hair Design, The Salvation Army, and Select Physical Therapy.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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