Living Mutual: The lemonade stand

By Allen Wastler
Allen Wastler is a former financial journalist with over 30-years of experience, including time at CNBC, CNN, and Knight-Ridder Newspapers.
Posted on Sep 16, 2017

Where does the path to individual, go-it-alone entrepreneurship start? Many folks would point to a child’s lemonade stand. It’s the summer staple of kids wanting to make a little money on the side or, in some cases, for a worthy cause.

Like 12-year-old Jonathan Mick, who set up a lemonade stand in Mary Esther, Florida, to help classmates buy school supplies.

"There were some kids at my school, Florosa Elementary to be exact, that didn't have school supplies like pencils, paper, etc.," Jonathan told a local TV station. "There are also some kids that don't have backpacks so they have to carry like grocery bags."

Of course, many lemonade stands are team efforts; friends or groups, like scout troops or sports teams, using them for fundraising.

Two 9-year olds in Wisconsin put together a lemonade stand to raise money for their friend’s costly cancer battle. The high school football team also joined in the effort.

The mother of one of those girls noted that putting on a lemonade stand is a small reminder that the community supports that whole family.

“So they know the community is with them through this struggle,” she said in a local news report.

Of course, Mom and Dad are often behind these individual ventures, helping with the lemon and sugar supply. And neighbors give support as well, as the primary customer base.

There is sometimes some controversy about lemonade stands as they often don’t comply with health or retailing rules. That typically spurs some sort of community outcry and show of support. Like the people in Discover Bay, California, who turned out to a girl’s second lemonade stand after she had an unsettling experience with a man who threatened to call the police on her first attempt.

"When she came home crying I told her that some people are just negative and are looking to bring others down," her father told a local newspaper. “I told her how much the community supported her when I posted (on Facebook) what happened. She was so surprised and encouraged. We set up a second lemonade stand…and she was busy the whole three hours.”

Ironically, her last two cups of lemonade went to two police officers. (Police departments, by the way, recommend checking with local municipalities about any potential problems with lemonade stands beforehand. And some point out that giving lemonade away for free and simply asking for donations or tips often sidesteps licensing issues).

Kids trying to succeed and communities backing their effort. That’s the kind of interdependence and mutual support MassMutual believes in and supports.

It’s hot out; find some lemonade.

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The information provided is not written or intended as specific tax or legal advice. MassMutual, its employees and representatives are not authorized to give tax or legal advice. You are encouraged to seek advice from your own tax or legal counsel. Opinions expressed by those interviewed are their own, and do not necessarily represent the views of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company.