Lemonade stand of 8-year-old closed outside festival in Ohio

ALLIANCE, Ohio (WJW) — Eight-year-old Asa Baker has spent this year’s hot summer days running a lemonade stand, usually outside her family’s home just outside the Alliance, Ohio city limits.

“It’s fun and you get a lot of people,” Asa said, adding that where she lives, many truck drivers stop to buy some lemonade or treats at her stall, often leaving more than the $1 a glass she’s asking.

But at the City of Alliance’s Rib and Food Festival last weekend, Asa asked her father if she could set up her booth outside the downtown business where he works, in an alleyway about half a block from the festival. With the permission of the entrepreneur, Asa has set up her stand.

Later, she says, a police officer came up to her and asked her to lock it up.

“Well, they were really sad they had to shut me down, but they gave me $20 to try and pay for it,” Asa said. The girl said the $20 given was to pay for a license she needed to sell refreshments.

“We looked it up and it was pretty much all over Ohio. You have to be licensed and I’ve never heard of that,” said Father Kyle Clark.

And he is right. There are only 14 states that do not require a license or permit to sell lemonade at a lemonade stand.

While the police rarely enforce these laws, Ohio is not one of those states.

Lieutenant Don Wensel of the Alliance Police says the city does not target children who run lemonade stands, but in this case there was a complaint from festival organizers. Once the complaint is filed, the police are obligated to enforce city ordinances.

The City of Alliance’s codified ordinances state that any vendor must be licensed before they can open — with no exceptions, not even for kids’ lemonade stands.

“Later that day I made a [social media] mail in appreciation of the officer who gave her the money to close it,” said Mother Katrina Moore. “You know, as unfortunate as it was, I was still very grateful that he could give her at least $20.”

The post caught the attention of many people, including local entrepreneur Eric Strata.

He made room for his company, Black Sales Liquidation, where Asa could sell her lemonade and treats. He even used his own tip jar to raise money so Asa could buy her permit.

Strata says he collected about $250 in just a few hours.

But some adults say they still don’t understand which license is appropriate for a child to be allowed to sell lemonade.

“To get a food vendor license, it only takes five days and it’s $40 for five days,” Moore said. “So that’s a bit out of the picture. If she wants to sell on the street, she needs a street permit. If she’s selling for a company, we’ll need a lawyer’s license.”

On Friday, Baker’s lemonade stand was again in front of Strata’s business where police said they wouldn’t harass her. Several customers were stopped to buy lemonade and snacks or just to contribute.

“I understand the rules, I understand why she was shut down,” Moore said. “It’s just a sad, sad situation.”

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