Lemonade Day is a national event designed to empower today’s youth to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs. Brought to the central peninsula last year by the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce and January Yaeger, project director, this year their were lemonade stands as far south as Homer and the number of participants doubled according to Yaeger, “In 2007, Michael Holthouse, founder and President of Paranet Inc. and winner of INC. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year, had a vision to empower today’s youth to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs through running their very own business; a lemonade Stand. This program is free to all school age children and walks them through building a business plan and inspires them to work hard to earn their own money. In 2011, Lemonade Day came to Anchorage for its inaugural year. In 2012, Lemonade Day went statewide. This year, Lemonade Day included even more cities and villages and even more kids!! The Soldotna and Kenai area had over 120 kids registered and over 50 stands in business on May 11th. That’s over double last year’s numbers!” reported Yaeger.
Fred Myers hosted their first lemonade stand this year and all because 11-year-old Nala Johnson made the request, “I had to fill out a request form for their headquarters and about four weeks later they said yes,” Nala told the Dispatch. As a result Fred Myers stores nationwide were able to host lemonade stands this year. “It’s a really great location, I’m doing better than I expected and I’m sharing half my profits with the animal shelter and the other half is going to my Disneyland fund,” said Nala. Mrs. Johnson spent Mother’s Day weekend helping her daughter squeeze hundreds of lemons, “I’m extremely proud of my daughter, this was all her idea and the fact that she is seeing that so many people in this community will donate to her without even taking the lemonade has made us all proud to live here,” she said. Four year old Cora O’Connor may have been the youngest lemonade stand entrepreneur she netted $143.00 at her stand in front of North Country Fair and gave $50.00 of her profits to the Kenai Watershed Forums summer camp scholarship fund. The “Little Lemon Ladies” who had their stand in Kenai said they were sharing their proceeds with homeless teens and Leah English who had her stand in front of Alaska Communications in Kenai said she had sold out by 12:30pm.
Last year Alaska Lemonade Day statewide yielded a total of $287,000 with $68,000 being donated to local charities. “Both the Soldotna Chamber and Kenai Chamber and Visitor Center would like to applaud all the businesses that hosted stands, and all the WONDERFUL citizens that drank gallons of lemonade! THANK YOU! We look forward to seeing more young entrepreneurs in 2014,” added Yaeger.