ALLIANCE — Katrina Moore noticed a long stretch before someone stopped to buy a $1 lemon from her 8-year-old daughter’s stand in the yard.
So her fiance, Kyle Clark, said the employer agreed to let Moore’s daughter Asa set up her lemonade stand in front of the business on the first Friday in August near Park and Market streets. He hopes to benefit from the large number of people expected to be downtown for the Carnation Food Festival.
More: Carnation Fest coverageAs a community meeting
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But within two hours of Asa setting up her lemonade stand downtown, city police officer Shannon McCalla begrudgingly and apologetically told the West Branch Middle School third-grader she had to close the stand.
A board member of the Greater Carnation Festival has asked police to enforce a 2018 city ordinance that prohibits unlicensed vendors from operating within 500 feet of a special event or community event, police Lt. David Beyer said.
The girl’s lemonade was good for a food festival 500 feet away. The board member seemed concerned that vendors who were not allowed to sell food and drinks at the festival for which they had paid $550 had reduced the number of food festival vendors.
Officer McCalla was frustrated by the situation. He gave Asa $20 to help cover any license fees.
I am sorry for what happened because I can’t sell lemons, said Asa.
“She was heartbroken,” Katrina Moore expressed her anger on Facebook. As the outrage spread, local businessmen began fundraising to support Asa.
“I feel like a lot of things are upside down in this country,” said Eric Strata, owner of the Black Sales Liquid Store on East Main Street. “You don’t need a license to carry a gun anymore. But when you’re a kid, you have to have someone to sell lemonade to. It blows my mind because everything she does is out of pure innocence.”
A budding entrepreneur
Earlier this year, Moore and Clark bought some lemonade for Asa, who saw each other on Facebook. The stand was nailed to wood and painted light blue. Moore wanted to “get her out of the house. Keep her busy” during the summer.
They offered her the ingredients, and Moore helped her make the lemonade.
In addition to $1 for lemonade in a red plastic cup, it was 50 cents for a Slim Jim, 50 cents for a bag of potato chips, and 50 cents for water. She also sold lollipops and dog treats.
“When I started doing it, I was like, ‘This is fun,'” Asa said. She said she’s bringing in $50 a day from 10 to 20 customers to fund her startup businesses and back-to-school shopping.
Asa spends hours sitting at her lemonade stand in the large front yard of her home in Smith Township, Mahoning County, a few miles from downtown Alliance. Her friends and her 2-year-old sister, Cassie, help her. At first, Asa did good business as neighbors, friends and passers-by bought lemonade and snacks. But every day they fail to buy and hours pass without a sale.
That led her to try to drum up sales at the downtown Alliance on the afternoon of August 5th. And when Officer McCalla was doing his job, Moore realized she was telling her to shut down. I didn’t issue her a quote.
Carnation Festival rules apply to everyone
Stacey R. Gurney, president of the Greater Alliance Carnation Festival Board, said last year some adults tried to sell food and drinks at the festival without paying the $550 fee to authorized vendors. She said the fee covers festival expenses such as generators. She said the city’s law director sent them a letter warning them to cite them if they don’t close. Gurney said if those adults had to close their positions, so would the fish.
“It’s unfortunate, but if you’re not part of the show, you’ve got to follow the rules for everybody. We weren’t trying to be mean to an 8-year-old. That’s the settled law of the city,” Gurney said. “We’re just trying to be fair to everybody.”
If Gurney Asa had set up her stand more than 500 feet away, Gurney would have had no objection to selling lemonade.
“So if you’re a vendor and you’re selling lemons, and there’s another vendor outside who hasn’t paid $550 to be there, how would you feel?” Gurney asked.
In the year In a live Facebook video released on August 6, Strata declared “Little Lemon Girl Day.” He announced that he would be asking for donations in a jar on the store shelf for this “little entrepreneur” and that $1 from the day’s sales would be donated to a fund to get a license to sell lemonade to Asa.
“They crushed her dreams before they even started. Today I will live to tell everyone that today is about her, said Strata. It’s funny, she’s a little girl. She is a little girl! Wearing a small dress with amazing sales skills, I’m selling that lemon!
In a video later released, he said, “She is an incredible little entrepreneur who is very motivated. She works really hard. And all she’s trying to do is shut herself up and do something productive… it just makes me sick to my stomach.”
Strata said he expected a donation of about $300.
He invited Asan to sell lemonade outside his shop on Thursday.
Alliance license red tape
Moore said someone in the health department didn’t give the kid a little lemonade a procedure to get a state health code permit.
The Summit County Health Department published a summary of the Ohio Department of Health Mobile Food Vendor Requirements.
- The stand cannot be on the grass or dirt floor because it can contaminate the food with dirt, dust and mud.
- The vendor needs commercial equipment to cool, freeze, or heat food and beverages.
- The vendor must have washing stations for washing and cleaning with a waste water disposal system.
- To prevent “overhead pollution”, the stand must be covered with a tent or other roof.
- Food must be prepared on site and not in an unlicensed indoor kitchen.
Moore said she left the health department in tears because of the requirements.
According to city regulations, a mobile vendor must obtain a vendor license from the city’s Office of the Director of Safety Services. Annual fee is $100.
Alliance Health Commissioner Randy Flint said the mobile provider’s license from the department can range from $40 for a five-day license to $168 for a year, depending on the location. State law exempts children 12 years of age or younger from obtaining a Health Department permit to sell food or beverages in a private home “unless the food served is unsafe.”
While technically minors selling lemonade outside private residences must obtain a permit, Flint and police Lt. Byer said in practice the city does not enforce those requirements on minors selling liquor.
Bair said the subject was Asa selling lemonade about 500 feet from the Food Fest.
“We’re not going around … closing lemonade stands,” Bair said.
Contact Robert at email@example.com. On Twitter: @rwangREP.