Lemonade and produce stands run by kids are apparently an endangered species in much of the United States.
News reports indicate that authorities in many parts of the country are using regulations to shut down such stands. Even Girl Scout cookies have been targets of local regulators in some communities.
It’s gotten so bad that the Freedom Center of Missouri has produced a map showing the ridiculous examples, which in recent years number nearly 50.
“It never even crossed my mind that my girls might need to get permission from the city before setting up their cookie stand,” Carolyn Mills said of her daughters, who were selling Girl Scout cookies in front of their home in Hazelwood, Missouri.
Their stand was shut down in 2011 after a neighbor complained and officials found the girls didn’t have a permit. The girls had apparently been running the cookie stand in their driveway for six years when the city closed it.
“I was even more shocked when city officials told me that you couldn’t even get a permit for it,” Mills noted. She discovered the city didn’t even have permits for child businesses. Mills ended up suing the city of Hazelwood over the incident.
Kid Businesses Shut Down All Over the Country
Mills’ daughters are not alone, as young entrepreneurs all over the country have had their attempts at free enterprise closed by city regulations.
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Some of the worst incidents include:
- City officials in McAllen, Texas, shut down a children’s lemonade stand and threatened the children’s grandmother with a $50 fine.
- Officials in Savannah, Georgia, stopped Girl Scouts from selling cookies in front of the home of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts. The city changed its mind and allowed cookie sales to resume after public outrage.
- A police officer in Villa Rica, Georgia, shut down a Girl Scout troop’s cookie stand because it did not have a permit.
- A county official in Montgomery County, Maryland, gave a group of children a $500 ticket for operating a lemonade stand near a US Open Golf Tournament. The stand was set up by the grandchildren of former Lockheed Martin CEO, Norman Augustine, and David and Carrie Marriot whose family founded the hotel chain. The county backed down after bad publicity hit the Internet.
- Three young girls had their lemonade stand shut down by Midway, Georgia, police. The reason? I did not have a peddler’s license, a business license or a food permit.
- Writer Shawn Doherty discovered that city officials in Madison, Wisconsin, were considering an ordinance to regulate lemonade stands in 2011. She asked the question because her daughter occasionally sells lemonade in the driveway. Warren Hansen, the city official then in charge of vending permits in Madison, admitted that city officials do have a policy of talking to the parents of children who regularly run lemonade stands but didn’t yet regulate them.
- Police in Appleton, Wisconsin, closed a lemonade stand run by grade school girls because it was close to a city festival. The city council later changed the ordinance to allow such stands.
The Freedom Center’s map is available here.
As previously reported by Off The Grid News, a girl in Illinois had her home cupcake business shut down this year because she didn’t have the necessary permits.
What Should Parents Do?
What should parents do? It might be a good idea to contact your local government and see where it stands on such child enterprises.
Government attitudes towards lemonade stands vary widely; some jurisdictions ignore them, some regulate under certain circumstances and a few prohibit them. If an official does shut down your child’s stand, complain to the media and elected officials. Elected officials often will back down in the face of bad publicity.
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