Niagara Gazette


July 10, 2013

DELUCA: Business lessons from a lemonade stand


Niagara Gazette — • Profit and loss:  Every morning Billy and Jaquayla determine what they’ll need for the day, and head to the corner store to stock up. Tuesday, as rain threatened, they took a delivery from Billy’s sister’s boyfriend, who brought them fresh ice in a cooler after they lost a pitcher of product in an accidental spill.

• Innovation: Billy says they make the lemonade and Kool-aid with just a little more sugar than the recipes call for, which the young entrepreneurs are certain makes the drinks tastier.  

• Supply and demand: The kids believe that by asking only a quarter, people are more likely to buy their product.  To their surprise, many customers are paying a lot more. One guy paid $20 and change for two drinks. It appears that people want to help kids who are trying to help themselves. Especially if they have cuteness.

• Sales: As we all know, pitching product is not easy. But, Billy is learning the language and behavior of commercial exchange.  “I think I’m learning how to sell,” he told me. “I’m learning how to say stuff and how to get over the fear of being embarrassed.”  

So, to review, we have here a couple of city kids, living in a neighborhood where crime and drugs are rampant, choosing another way. They’re also gathering experience to enhance their resumes when they head out to get their first jobs at 16.

Jaquayla and Jayquan’s mom, Pearl Harpham, says it’s nice to see her children doing something productive. “There’s nothing for kids to do in this city,” she told me when I phoned her. “Nothing at all.”

Billy’s stepdad, Roger Miller, is pretty proud of them, too. “I want other kids to see these guys are out working for something.”

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