When Life Gives You Lemons…

Estimated reading time: 4 minute(s)

Ian Campbell and his Lemonade StandOr, even when it doesn’t. Lemonade still tastes great. Who doesn’t love a nice, cold glass of lemonade on a hot summer’s day?

For a while now our kids have been excited to set up a lemonade stand in front of our house and sell to anyone who might happen by on a warm day and be willing to pay them a small fee for a cold cup of the lemon drink. They are nearly always greeted with warm smiles and over generous customers and have a great time while they’re at it. Not just because they are making money, but during the whole process: figuring out how much the ingredients will cost, what materials to use (card table, check… large piece of plywood covered with paper for a sign, check… signs at the nearest intersections, check) and then even adding items for sale, as our daughter is wont to do. (She often has a companion yard sale on the lemonade stand days.)

But this time, it was serious.

With a little help from Dad, Ian set to work on a design, and figuring out what the materials would cost for a real lemonade stand. I helped him think through how to anticipate what he would need, design-wise, and then we went shopping at Lowe’s for the lumber, paint, and other supplies.

I actually thought he would be excited to do it on his own, but the supplies sat for a few days on our porch. Curious, I asked if he was waiting for me to help him, and when that was the case, I was glad to join in on the project. It was definitely a fun thing to do together!

But Ian certainly did the majority of the work on this project. From start to finish.

From the measuring and cutting, to the assembling and painting (and even the lettering—see below) Ian had a vision, and the determination, and he stuck to it. (Thanks to some extra freedom in his daily schedule from Mom, too!)

The big event that helped push along the completion of this project is a really large annual gathering in our tiny home town. Every July, tens (if not hundreds?) of thousands of people from all over the world descend on Palmyra, NY for the Hill Cumorah Pageant only a few miles from our house. Knowing that was coming, bringing with it a ridiculous increase in potential customers, was a great motivating factor for getting the stand ready for use.

Some friends of ours had set up a lemonade stand of their own last year in a prime location for all of this visiting traffic, and in speaking with them last week, we both thought it would be fun to set up a schedule of “shifts” at the lemonade stand and have the whole week of the event covered. Great plan! They offered some of their resources, and Ian offered his stand (they even gave him a donation toward his building costs!) and we set to work on finalizing the last few details. (Like, getting permission from the business who owns that property, and determining when to have people at the stand, how much food and drink to have ready, etc.)

It’s quite an operation!

The first day went really well. Each family took a four-hour shift, and exhausted their entire supply of baked goods, as well as the lemonade… twice! Our friends had the good idea of selling bottled water, too. That went pretty well. (Ian is thinking next time he’ll write to a bottled water company and get a big cardboard sign to advertise that water is being sold, too!) All in all, both sets of entrepreneurial kids did quite well on their first busy Saturday of selling.

Sunday was a day off, and the Monday was definitely slower, but that was expected. Supplies have been bought for the whole week, and great profits are anticipated by all. 🙂

The coolest thing about all of this is how much it has been initiated by our kids (Ian especially, but don’t discount 8-year-old Kirstie. She loves it, too!) and how much work they are putting into making it a success. If you could have seen them waving in the cars today…

They are learning the value of hard work. They are learning the rewards of labor. (And have already enjoyed spending some of their rewards on things they love.) Ian is working toward paying for some of the sports he wants to play this fall, and has been learning how investing a little money (buying supplies, materials, etc) along with a good bit of sweat, work, and time, can (when done correctly) reap very profitable results. Definitely gaining some good business sense in all of these endeavors.

If your kids get the itch to launch their own lemonade stand (or something similar) I highly recommend encouraging their urges. Don’t do it for them! Be a resource, a cheerleader, even a helper if that is needed. It’s fun to watch them invest themselves in these projects and see the rewards of doing so.

Watch out world. Ian Campbell Enterprises is just getting started! 🙂


  1. Greg, fun to see your story behind the lemonade stand. I was just on the phone with Aubrey earlier when she said “Got to go, it’s our shift at the lemonade stand. I am missing being there for the month of July like we were last summer. We got to wave cars in too. I should post my photos from last year. I have a few of the girls that are precious.
    Good luck with the rest of the week! Hope all those mormons have generous wallets this year.
    Jessica’s last post: Arise


  2. I had forgotten until recently that you guys were here during that time last year. That was fun 🙂 I have a photo of Em and Cecily sitting at the lemonade stand, too. Looking forward to your visit … hope we get to enjoy making some new memories 🙂

    So far so good on the generosity, too!


  3. We are having a hot blast! 🙂 I guess heat is good for lemonade stands so that is a good thing…. but MAN, it was warm today! 🙂 This is a good idea, our kids are AWESOME!


  4. I’m sure that would be fun! Perhaps in another season of life. For now, we’ll enjoy the times you guys can visit. 🙂

    (Plus, while you/we may be missing out on some things – not living down the road from one another – there are always so many things to be grateful for right where we are. God’s been patiently reminding me of that for a good while now. Perhaps I’m beginning to listen, to learn? Perhaps…)


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