Niagara Gazette

Columns

July 10, 2013

DELUCA: Business lessons from a lemonade stand

Niagara Gazette — William John White, III is learning about business on a Niagara Street corner this summer.

In a city that sometimes offers its young people an alluring view of the low road, the 13-year-old honor society student has stepped upon another route this summer.

The inspiration came when the LaSalle Prep student had a need. He wanted some new things — a couple more baseball caps and a few necklaces. He’s a newly minted teen and developing his own sense of style. 

Billy, like all the rest of us, had to make some choices about how to obtain those things he desired. He decided to get to work. 

He and his neighbor, Jaquayla Harpham, 10, have been selling cool drinks at the end of their street, on Niagara and Seventh, since last Saturday, taking advantage of the fireworks traffic. Theirs is not a glamorous location. And the lemonade stand is not some big production. It’s just a little white plastic table with a tattered purple cover.  

But, the pair have earned about $100 in quarters since they began waving their signs.

As those of us in the news media spend much time telling stories about those who make the wrong choices, I always enjoy the opportunity to meet young people seeking a better way. So, I stopped by their little business on Tuesday, and chatted with these two. It got me to thinking about just what the two are learning as they holler and wave their sign at passing cars.

Between them, and Jaquayla’s brother, Jayquan, 12, who sometimes helps out, the kids are getting some hands-on experience in business, which I expect will serve them lifelong.  Such as: 

• Marketing:  When selling a product, it’s always important to consider the cuteness factor. Billy’s little step-sister, Destiny, 11 months, is sometimes recruited to coo and wave from her stroller, while a parent watches from a porch down the block. I got to see her in action. I must say that she’s darned good at customer relations. And she seems to really enjoy the work.

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