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Young Cottage Grove entrepreneurs test their juice on Lemonade Day

Chris Carey buys a cup of lemonade from Jacob Engelstadt, 9, and his brother Ben, 14. Carey and his wife Heather organized the first Lemonade Day in Cottage Grove. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 5
Liam Lundell, 7, of Woodbury wets his whistle while Everett Paylor, 11, (background) tallies his proceeds. Paylor's Vault 8105 was one of 10 lemonade stands set up by young entrepreneurs throughout Cottage Grove during Lemonade Day on Aug. 25. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 5
Lauren Grams, 9, and her brother Holden, 12, got some business experience running their Lemonade Ninjas stand during Lemonade Day Aug. 25 in Cottage Grove. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 5
Ayden Wesley, 8, advertised his lemonade stand to passing motorists on E. Point Douglas Road during the Aug. 25 Lemonade Day in Cottage Grove. Ayden and his business partner and sister Tenley, 7, participated in the program to learn how to run a business. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 5
Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey visited Lisa Engelstad and her sons Jacob, 9, and Ben, 14, during Lemonade Day. The Aug. 25 event encouraged kids to learn financial fundamentals by running their own lemonade stand. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia5 / 5

If pub crawls aren't your thing, you could have gone on a lemonade crawl Aug. 25 in Cottage Grove.

Ten lemonade stands sprang up throughout Cottage Grove, the first city in Minnesota to host a youth education and empowerment program called Lemonade Day.

Each year, youngsters around the country are encouraged to learn financial fundamentals by opening their own lemonade stand. Each child who registers receives an Entrepreneur Workbook that addresses such topics as branding, creating a budget, controlling inventory and serving customers.

Everett Paylor, 11, did brisk business at his Vault 8105 Atomic Lemonade Stand. He offered four kinds of lemonade, including "Atomic Lemonade" with strawberries added, and boxes of lemon drops.

Lemonade Day participants also must decide how much of their profits they will spend, save and give away.

Paylor said he'll give some of the money to his school and use another portion to pay for his brother's bike.

Motorists passing on E. Point Douglas Road might have spotted Ayden Wesley, 8, holding a sign that said "Jedi Lemonade." His business partner and sister, Tenley, 7, served lemonade and cookies.

"I wanted to learn how you start a business," she said.

The Lemonade Ninjas stand sold Rice Krispies treats and potato chips along with their juice.

Siblings Holden and Lauren Grams served walk-up and drive-by customers. Lauren Grams, 9, said they considered setting up their stand in front of a football field but ultimately decided to stick to their front yard. That way, they wouldn't have to drive all the way back to their house if they ran out of stock.

"We used powdered lemonade because it's faster," Lauren, 9, said.

Holden, 12, said they also considered what size cups to buy. They opted for smaller cups since they cost less. But they also priced them accordingly, at 50 cents a cup.

"We just knew that you wouldn't want to pay a dollar for a cup that size," Holden said.

Some of their profits will go to an animal shelter, they said.

Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey completed the entire lemonade crawl, visiting each of the 10 stands. So did Chris and Heather Carey, the local business owners who organized the event.

They stopped at the Engelstad Express, the lemonade stand on Janero Street that was run by brothers Jacob, 9, and Ben Engelstad, 14.

"Almost every stand has a different type of lemonade," Bailey said. "It's kind of interesting."

He said he wanted to get the Cottage Grove Chamber of Commerce involved in next year's Lemonade Day. He said he'd like to see local businesses offer their premises where kids could set up their stands.

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

(651) 301-7883
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