Being a mom requires having a lot of qualities, combining time managing skills, patience, organizing a whole household and being available 24/7 for others’ needs. This is what Jennifer Knowles was doing exactly joggling between earning a Ph.D. and raising 3 energetic boys.

This mom from Denver wanted to teach her boys the responsibility of having a business, starting in a fun way by opening a lemonade stand during the Memorial day in her Colorado neighborhood.

The Lemonade Stand Game

“We have never had a lemonade stand and the boys thought Memorial Day weekend is going to be great weather, so why not have a lemonade stand across the street in the park,” she explains. Like other kids, she affirmed that she did have a lemonade stand when she was a kid and this experience taught her many lessons.

I want to teach my kids about being an entrepreneur and having your own business. My 6-year-old got his little toy cash register out that he got when he was about two or three and he was learning how to interact with customers and about customer service,” said Jennifer.

They were planning to donate all the money earned through the lemonade stand to Compassion International, a charity organization, in order to learn to be generous and kind to those in need. “They picked a little 5-year-old boy from Indonesia with siblings, two siblings, kind of like them,” she added, who will receive the basic necessities, including clean water from what the two brothers earn.

lemonade stand Courtesy of Jennifer Knowles

Unexpected Surprise 

According to Fox 4 Now, after half an hour into their business playing game, police arrived due to an anonymous complaint.

“They got a lot of people coming and praising the boys and telling them that they were doing a great job,” said Jennifer. “That was so good for my boys to hear and for them to interact with people they’ve never met before in a business way.”

After that, the police came and urged them to “shut us down and we had to stop immediatel,. My boys were crushed. They were devastated. And I can’t believe that happened. I remember as a child I always had lemonade stands and never had to worry about being shut down by the police officers. I mean that’s unheard of”, Knowles explained further.

This experience was scary for both brothers and upsetting for the mother who had only the best intentions in mind.

“My 6-year-old he saw the police officers coming over and he ran and he hid.  My 4-year-old came over and was looking at the police officer and heard what he was saying. He started to frown and then he started to cry. And it made me want to cry because they were so upset.” said Jennifer.

She explains that someone near the open art show, where their lemonade stand was placed called the police. “It makes me sad that someone would do that”, she concludes.

Jennifer’s Decision

But she wasn’t going to just sit and watch it all happen. That’s when she started doing some research and found out that Utah passed a law in 2017 that allows children to run lemonade stands or other small business; they can be operated without a permit.

Jennifer Knowles plans to receive awareness over cases like this and make a similar law pass in Colorado too.

In her city, there are no rules that would explicitly prohibit a lemonade stand, but also there aren’t any rules to protect it.

Communications Program Manager Alexandra Foster said her department does not typically go out to enforce its permitting rules against children. However, if a call is made to police about a certain lemonade stand blocking traffic for instance, the family could be asked to shut the lemonade stand down. She added that temporary stands typically don’t need a permit, but if a stand was set up on a regular basis that it might.

Communication Program Manager, Alexandra Foster gives us more details about these laws.

“If our inspectors go to a lemonade stand, it means we’ve received a complaint, and generally complaints stem from high levels of activity or noise that disrupt neighbors,” Foster affirmed. “So generally, as long as the impact is minimal, we’re happy to let kids have fun in the summer.”

She clarifies that a home business permit is needed by adults selling foods that they’ve grown or prepared for income.

The Conclusion 

The only law that is available in Denver of this type requires that people wanting to sell their own fresh grown fruits and vegetables should obtain a home occupation zoning permit before starting their small home business. However, this applies only to locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, eggs, honey and jam.

Lemons do not enter into this category, as they aren’t local foods.

Knowles message regards all parents and her goal is to raise awareness.

“I want parents to know that they need to be aware that if their kids want to have a lemonade stand there could be repercussions like there with my kids,” said Jennifer.

 

What do you think about this experience? Have you heard of similar experiences? Share with us your opinion.

 

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