With lemonade stands, Houston kids are getting a crash course in business

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Justin Washington, 11, loves talking to people, so when it came time to divide up the chores at a downtown lemonade stand, he turned to the job he knew he’d love: leader.

Those walking through Discovery Green on Sunday were likely approached by Washington, who was holding a whiteboard with a menu of stand options — original, sugar-free strawberry and lavender, among them. He approached them without hesitation, whether they seemed interested or not.

Passers-by on the phone, or walking dogs, or listening to headphones, could not escape him.

“He’ll talk to anyone,” said his father, also named Justin Washington, with a proud smile.

Washington was among dozens of kids who scattered across Houston over the weekend to set up booths and try their hand at entrepreneurship, as part of the city’s annual Lemonade Day celebration. . The program, founded in 2007 by Michael Holthouse in Houston, aims to help children learn basic financial and business lessons they may not get in school. They make business plans, set budgets and try to make a profit. The program has expanded to 86 cities. The Houston chapter hopes to help 10,000 children start a booth this year.

Six-year-old Christopher Campos accepts money from a customer while taking his order at his lemonade stand with his father, David, Sunday, May 8, 2022, at the Williams Tower Waterwall in Houston. Christopher said he knew he wanted to sell both cherry lemonade and blue lemonade, and realized he could use the characters Sonic and Knuckles as mascots for his “super fuel.” -hero”. Christopher also sold bags of potato chips in addition to the two flavors of lemonade. The Campos family took advantage of Lemonade Day, a program focused on entrepreneurship for children, to open Christopher’s first lemonade stand.

Mark Mulligan, Houston Chronicle/Staff Photographer

“The main goal is for them to know they can run their own business,” said Yuliana Chacon, assistant manager of Lemonade Day Houston. She mentioned two people who had gone through the program and are now studying at Texas A&M, where they started a grilled cheese business out of their dorm.

The group that included Washington, organized with the nonprofit organization 100 Black Men of America, surpassed its goal of $150 within hours. They decided to offer lemonade jugs – a bulk option – to differentiate themselves. They also sold juice made from fresh Meyer lemons, which offered a supply chain lesson: there was a shortage. As a result, they increased the price of this drink by another dollar, to $3.

They made special signs to celebrate Mother’s Day and called themselves “Wicked Lemonade”.

At around 12:15 p.m., Washington earned a well-deserved break, and one of the adults in the group grabbed the board and began making his own pitch.

Eight-year-old Ariane Contreras fills a glass with her passion fruit flavored lemonade at her lemonade stand, Sunday, May 8, 2022, at the Williams Tower Waterwall in Houston.  Ariane heard about Lemonade Day, an organization that encourages young entrepreneurs, through a flyer at school and decided to have her first lemonade stand on Sunday.  She said she hopes to use the money she earns to buy a puppy, and maybe one day fund a trip to Disney Land.

Eight-year-old Ariane Contreras fills a glass with her passion fruit flavored lemonade at her lemonade stand, Sunday, May 8, 2022, at the Williams Tower Waterwall in Houston. Ariane heard about Lemonade Day, an organization that encourages young entrepreneurs, through a flyer at school and decided to have her first lemonade stand on Sunday. She said she hopes to use the money she earns to buy a puppy, and maybe one day fund a trip to Disney Land.

Mark Mulligan, Houston Chronicle/Staff Photographer

Nearby, Vivi and Monique Gloetzner, both 10, marketed their booth with a chalk easel and asked for the help of bubbles to draw attention to their options: a sweet lemonade and a sour one.

“I’m still selling bubbles,” said Vivi, who was working at a booth for the third year in a row. The first time, she says, she simply sat at the bar and waited for people to approach. The second time she started advertising.

What is she doing with the money that she earned ?

“Sometimes I buy toys,” she said, “but I usually keep them.”

dylan.mcguinness@chron.com

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