Lemonade stands pop up every year around McAllen as the local chamber seeks to spark an entrepreneurial spirit in the city’s youth.
Lemonade Day is held every May as stands set up shop in front of McAllen-area businesses. Lemonade Day is a national event and is held in 65 U.S. cities and 23 states. McAllen’s first Lemonade Day came in 2012, and since then the McAllen Chamber of Commerce has seen the program grow.
The chamber expects 400 kids to participate in Lemonade Day 2018 on May 12. Each participant receives a backpack and an entrepreneur workbook from the chamber, which also assists kids in partnering with local businesses.
“We’ve had good success and inspiring stories,” said Jorge Sanchez, the chamber’s director of business development and start-ups. “Every year we have returning kids that are waiting all year long to have a lemonade stand again.”
Kathleen and Sara Cavazos are two of those success stories – adding a good dose of inspiration as well. The two sisters set up in front of Corner Bakery at Palm’s Crossing in McAllen last year and grossed $1,800 in lemonade sales. After expenses, they donated $1,500 to Sara’s Hope, a special fund to help youngsters battling cancer by helping their families with everyday expenses.
Eleven-year-old Sara is a cancer survivor. She said the public’s support of the Cavazos lemonade stand was surprising and very much appreciated. “It was a lot of fun to see so many people,” she said, recalling the long line of customers waiting in front of her lemonade stand. “Many of our friends got together to support us.”
There was also a bottom line lesson learned, Sara said. “We learned how to make a profit.”
Sara’s father, Henry Mendoza, said the lemonade stand was a family project as he and his daughters created their own lemonade recipe.
“I saw a sense of accomplishment in the girls,” Mendoza said. “They succeeded in something they created, and learned the basics of starting up a business. It’s wonderful for the chamber to do this for kids. They’re seen as not only kids but young people who are focused and with goals to succeed.”
The Cavazos sisters were named entrepreneurs of the year by the chamber for their 2017 Lemonade Day success. Sanchez said the sisters exemplify what the chamber is trying to establish with the annual event.
“The goal of the program is to set an entrepreneurial mindset in kids,” he said. “Our intention is to foster our community with knowledge and experience that opening for business is not hard, and that hard work always pays off.”
To help local youngsters in those efforts the chamber, with the support of Watermill Express, provides participants with lemons, water and ice. Sanchez hopes more local businesses will join the effort to help and host the young entrepreneurs as Lemonade Day grows each year.
“This program helps kids develop self-confidence,” he said. “It teaches them that the money they generate can be spent, raised and shared with others.”