Bend students make lemonade a business lesson

Camp teaches students about sales, loans and charity

By Megan Kehoe / The Bulletin

Educational news and activities, and local kids and their achievements.

• School Notes and submission info, B2

Andrew Gottlieb and his business partners determined last week they would need money to start their small business.

So Andrew took charge and drafted a loan request.

“I told them that I know it’s a lot of money, but that we promise to pay you back,” Andrew, 9, said. “And I told them that the money we made would go to charity, so it’s for a good cause.”

Andrew asked for $35 to get his small business up and running. Money that would help him and his business partners buy plastic cups, bags of ice and ample lemonade mix.

The group got $25 from the Bend Park & Recreation District “bank.” Not as much as they wanted, but enough, they determined, to run a lemonade stand.

“I hope they take away a sense of entrepreneurial spirit from this camp,” said Molly Morton, instructor of the Lemonade Stand Management Camp. “I hope, too, that it gives them an understanding of work ethic and teamwork.”

Thursday, students in the park district camp, all from Bend, put their business savvy to the test. After spending the week learning about marketing, product testing and small-business loans, the four girls and one boy set up a lemonade stand Thursday in the halls of Cascade Middle School, selling icy cold lemonade to hordes of thirsty parents, park district employees and other students participating in recreation programs in the building.

Earlier in the week, the campers learned about the value of promotions in running a business. They learned how to properly treat customers. They made and tested various lemonade recipes. Then, based on what they had learned, they developed a strategy for running their own stand. They decided to go with premade lemonade mix for practicality purposes, charging 50 cents per glass.

“I wanted to charge $1 so we could make more,” Andrew said. “But it was majority rule.”

All profits made from the stand would go toward the park district’s foundation, which provides scholarships for students to attend camps.

Students spent the hour before opening the stand at midday making bright and colorful signs, cutting out handmade coupons and mixing the lemonade powder with water and ice in a cooler.

“I think it’s important to cooperate with your partners,” said Mia Mees, 7, dragging a marker across a sheet of fluorescent pink poster board. “Everyone has to agree on things for things to work.”

Mia, along with her friend, Emerson Nori, 8, created signs advertising their stand and also created paper coupons: another business strategy the group decided to use to boost sales.

After the lemonade was made and signs were in place, students moved out into the hallway, and waited.

A few minutes later, a small group of customers rounded the corner, prompting students to get to their stations. Emerson greeted them and guided them to the stand. Andrew took their orders and offered them a buy-two, get-one free deal. Mia added ice to the cups, and Becca Uri, 11, filled them with lemonade from the cooler.

“I think it’s great they’re getting out there and learning these skills,” said Sarah Romish, one of the lemonade stand customers, who works for Bend Park & Recreation. “They’re quite the sales people.”

Romish said the lemonade was very tasty.

Ralph Uri, another patron, agreed.

“I was thirsty, and it was so hot outside,” Uri said. “Lemonade seemed like a very good idea.”

Uri, who stopped by to support his granddaughters, Becca and Amanda Uri, 7, said he hoped the girls were learning about how to responsibly run a business.

A steady stream of customers kept the students busy for the next half-hour. At one point, a long line of volleyball players snaked down the hallway.

“It can be really hard to run a lemonade stand,” Becca said. “People just kept coming. It was hard to catch up.”

Within 26 minutes, the students had completely sold out of lemonade, having to turn away some customers. They raked in a total of $83, $58 of which would go to charity once students paid back their no-interest loan from the park district.

Every student agreed they would run their own lemonade stand this summer, now that they know how.

“It feels good to give to charity,” Andrew said. “It’s nice to give other kids the chance to do something as fun as this.”

—Reporter: 541-383-0354, mkehoe@bendbulletin.com