Standoff Between Lemonade Stand Entrepreneurs & County Officials Resolved
Children have the biggest hearts in the world and it’s always uplifting to see them take the initiative to do something for others. They create a hope and a dream, not only for themselves but for others. It’s very discouraging to learn that bureaucracy can stampede and crush an idea born out of caring hearts and minds.
The idea of a Lemonade Stand near the U.S. Open golf tournament in Maryland was brought about by a group of young children. These children wanted to donate half of their profits to help fight pediatric cancer. This was a proud moment for the parents of those children and preparations were made to make their idea a reality.
Reality is sometimes difficult, however. A Montgomery County Inspector was not pleased with their enterprise, and gave them several warnings to remove the lemonade stand. The problem with the stand was a permit had not been applied for. Imagine the horror of the parents to realize their children’s dream was about to be crushed. The inspector issued a fine of $500 on the parents for not heeding his warnings.
This created a furor within the community and an apology was not forthcoming from the County. Rules are rules, and this little enterprise, however endearing, could bring in other non-permit holding vendors. Of course, this means a loss to the County because the cost of a permit is $300. In essence, the entire incident has caused a PR disaster for the County officials.
A similar incident occurred during Girl Scout cookie sales in Savannah in February 2011. It is an honor to be able to set up a cookie booth in front of the Juliette Low home to sell cookies. This year, the City would not allow them to sell on the sidewalk in front of the historic home because it is a “public” sidewalk. The City Ordinance states “No person shall use the streets, sidewalks, lanes or squares of the city for private purposes of any sort.Continued on the next page