Archive for May, 2016

Fresh-squeezed entrepreneurs fill up Boerne

“Entrepreneurship is a very American idea,” asserted Bear Moon Bakery owner Paula Hayward as lemonade stands lined Main Street Sunday.
 
“My mother owned a store on Main Street for nineteen years,” Hayward remembered. “She taught me to keep my windows clean. No matter how tight times get, I’ll always pay for a window washer. These kids are learning the cost and pride of ownership.”
 
My first and fourth graders relocated “Homerun Lemonade” to the sidewalk in front of Bear Moon after a rain-out at Northrup Park.
 
Dozens of elementary kids “owned” stands across town Sunday as part of Lemonade Day, a Houston-based initiative that trains kids on the basics of entrepreneurship. Boerne City Attorney Kirsten Cohoon brought the program to Boerne last year.
 
“It teaches things that get easily missed in our school curriculums,” Cohoon said. “How to think outside the box, how to set yourself apart from 60 other stands, how to think through marketing and product development.”
 
As I sampled the stands, I asked what kids were learning. “People like pink more than regular.” “It’s hard to keep track of things when there’s a long line.”
 
“It’s hard to make money,” observed Curington Elementary fourth grader Reed Neal, who hopes to one day invent the “Tri-TCR,” a three-armed tissue cancer remover.
 
Neal used $53 from his savings to finance “Freetail Lemonade.” Costs included renting a table from his parents.
 
“The rental fee is ten dollars,” his mother told me. Reed interjected, “I thought it was three dollars!” He’ll likely get it in writing next year.
 
A chance to win a Yeti drink tumbler justified his above-market price. Freshly-picked mint leaves from his grandma’s garden also differentiated his offering.
 
Competition was fierce along Main Street. Most shoppers had cups running over. 
 
“How’s that lemonade?” a self-assured proprietor asked. “I bet I can top it!”
 
Cactus, condensed milk, ginger and honey from on-site bees rounded out the list of creative ingredients. Stand names included Lemon Large, The Lucky Lemon and Spike-It Lemonade, the latter owned by a volleyballer whose mother looked like she could use a cold one.
 
“I’m tired,” she said scanning the extensive late-night carpentry that produced her child’s storefront.
 
Organizer Ms. Cohoon applauded the community’s response to the aspiring entrepreneurs. 
 
“Boerne has been very supportive. We hope this keeps growing and growing, that it’s just what we do on the first Sunday in May.”
 
San Antonio residents James and Heather Outlaw stayed in Boerne after church to sip on samples.
 
“Growing up in rural east Texas, I would put out a lemonade stand but no one ever came except my grandmother,” Mrs. Outlaw said. “It brought a tear to my eye earlier when I saw people actually visiting the stands. I doubt this is happening where I’m from.”
 
Sellers were certainly conditioned by buyers’ generosity. For example, my fourth grader after a customer handed him a twenty dollar bill for a $1 order: “Will you need any change?”
 
 
Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star in the Texas hill country. Follow him at www.kwt.info.
 
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