ALLIANCE, Ohio (WJW) – 8-year-old Asa Baker has spent the hot summer days running a lemonade stand, mostly from in front of her family’s Ohio home just outside of the Alliance city limits.
“It’s fun and you get lots of people,” said Asa, saying where she lives a lot of truckers stop to buy some lemonade or treats from her stand, many times leaving more than the $1 a glass she charges.
“Especially on a country road, I get a lot of people,” she said.
During the city of Alliance’s Rib and Food Festival this past weekend, Asa asked her father if she could set up her stand outside of the downtown business where he works, in an alley about half-a-block from the festival.
With the permission of the business owner, Asa set up her stand.
Later, she says she saw a police officer coming toward her thinking he was going to buy some lemonade. Instead, he asked her to shut it down.
“Well, they were really sad that they had to shut me down but they gave me $20 to try and pay for it,” said Asa, who said that the $20 was intended to be used to buy a permit which she didn’t have.
“I could definitely tell he did not want to shut her down, but, I mean, you get a call, he has to do it. He definitely did the right thing, you know, in the situation he was put in,” said Katrina Moore, Asa’s mother.
“We looked it up and it was pretty much anywhere in Ohio. You have to have a license and I’ve never heard of that,” said Kyle Clark, Asa’s Dad.
He is right. In 2019, FOX 8 reported that there are only 14 states in which a permit or license is not required to sell lemonade at a lemonade stand.
Although police, with rare exception, are not going to enforce it, Ohio is not one of those states.
Alliance Police Lieutenant Don Wensel says the city is not out targeting kids running lemonade stands, but in this case, there was a complaint from the festival organizers who seemed incredibly torn themselves about filing the complaint.
Once that complaint was filed, the police department is obligated to enforce the city’s ordinances.
In the codified ordinances of the city of Alliance, it clearly states that any vendor must procure a license before opening.
There are no exceptions. Not even for a child’s lemonade stand.
“Later that day, I made a (social media) post in appreciation for the officer that gave her the money for shutting it down. You know, as unfortunate as it was, I still was very grateful that he was at least able to give her $20,” her mother said.
The post caught the attention of numerous people, including Eric Strata, the owner of Black Sales Liquidation, a downtown business.
“I don’t know a lot of 8-year-olds with motivation like that. I know when I was 8 years old I was video gaming it up and I was inside on the couch watching Saturday morning cartoons. I was not doing a lemonade stand trying to make my own money,” said Strata.
He made a space in front of his business available for Asa to sell her lemonade and treats. He used a tip jar on his counter to collect money for Asa so she could get herself a permit.
Strata says in just a few hours he collected about $250.
But it isn’t even clear which permit is appropriate for an 8-year-old running a lemonade stand.
“In order to get a food vendors license, it only lasts for five days and its $40 for five days so that’s kind of out of the picture. If she wants to sell on the street, she has to get a street permit. If she sells in front of a business, we have to get a solicitors permit,” said Moore.
“He (the officer) had to do his job, but it just felt so unjust to me because she’s 8, she’s just an innocent little girl that wants to be motivated and wants to do something with herself. Why shut that down?” said Strata.
On Friday, Baker’s lemonade stand was back up in front of Strata’s business where police say they were not going to bother her.
Numerous people were stopping by to either buy a lemonade and snacks or to just make a contribution.
“I understand the rules, I understand why she got shut down. It’s just a sad, sad situation,” said Moore.