UPDATE 8/8/2013 – 9:41pm EST : The Reno Tahoe Open PGA Tournament got word about this incident and they have made an offer to Alex and Emma. The girls have been invited to move their lemonade stand down to 18th hole next year.
A summer cannot go by without hearing more news reports of kids’ lemonade stands being shut down by a bureaucrat. And this summer is no different. This time the “illegal” lemonade stand was in Reno Nevada, and the “perps” who were running the stand were 12 year old Emma Farrell and 14 year old Alex Farrell.
The family lives inside the housing development where the Reno Tahoe Open PGA Tournament is hosted every August. Alex and Emma sell ice cold lemonade, homemade cookies, and gently used golf balls that they custom decorate for customers. They have been operating this stand in front of their house for the past five years with nothing but compliments and support from the community. They have even built a loyal and established customer base that returns year after year.
But this year on August 3rd, they were shocked to receive a visit from the Washoe County Health Inspector. They were told to cease operations immediately. They received a written warning and were told that they would be fined if they did not comply.
According to the girls’ mother Kelly, the Washoe County Health Inspector stated that the girls’ stand was being shut down this year because another vendor launched a complaint claiming that sales were low because of the girls’ lemonade stand.
Like many entrepreneurs, these two girls took advantage of an opportunity, and decided to do something positive with it. They decided to set up a stand and make some money. According to their mother Kelly, the girls usually make anywhere between $100-$150 at their stand. After running their stand, they like to treat themselves to ice-cream with some of their earnings. They save some of the money, use some to invest in new equipment, and donate some to their church. A few years ago, they purchased their “official” lemonade stand, and this year they purchased a new 4 gallon lemonade container.
At Lemonade Freedom, we applaud these girls’ actions, but the state bureaucrats obviously do not appreciate these motivated girls’ contributions to society. Maybe it is because the agents of the state have absolutely no understanding for the free market and voluntary exchange. How could they? They “earn” a living on taxpayer money. Their entire livelihood is funded at the expense of the productive members of society.
You see… 14 year old Alex, and 12 year old Emma understand more about the free market and voluntary exchange than any bureaucrat or government employee will ever know. In the last 5 years of their young lives, they have been operating a business. They have learned important messages about providing a good product at a reasonable price. They have learned about the importance of re-investing into the business to make it grow. They have learned about the importance of keeping a good reputation and to remain in good standing in their community. They learned about being accountable to their customers.
A private business, such as Alex and Emma’s lemonade stand has to cater to its’ customers. If a private business does not provide quality products at a reasonable price, then the customers will go elsewhere. This promotes innovation, efficiency, and accountability in the marketplace.
The “public” sector doesn’t understand this, because they will receive funding whether they provide high quality service, or poor service. Money doesn’t enter the “public” sector because they provide such great services which people demand. Money comes into the “public” sector because they demand it from taxpayers. This is why quality, innovation, efficiency, and accountability will always be lacking, at best, when services are provided by the government.
You see… Alex and Emma are peaceful girls. They weren’t harming anyone. Nobody in their right mind could disagree with that. Yet, because of the law, this government employee believed that it was necessary to intimidate these two young girls for providing a beneficial service to others. Think about the message that this sends to Alex and Emma, as well as many other creative and motivated kids across the country.
If you are as outraged as I am, I expect that you will all show your support for these two young entrepreneurs. And this weekend is the perfect time to show your support for them by setting up a lemonade stand. August 10, 2013 is Lemonade Freedom Day. For more information please visit lemonadefreedom.com.
If you happen to be in the Reno, Nevada area, please set up a stand in support of these girls. Let them know that they are not alone.
They may be able to shut one lemonade stand down, but they can’t shut them all down!