By Chuck Woodbury
I live and work in a complicated world. It wasn’t always so. I once operated a Kool-Aid stand. At times it was a lemonade stand. I was young, of course — perhaps 10 when my beverage career ended. It was good work. My mother furnished the raw material. She bought the Kool-Aid or furnished the lemons. My job was to paint a cardboard sign offering my service and to haul a small table and pitcher of beverage about 40 yards to the side of busy Lark Ellen Avenue, which provided plenty of drive-by traffic and customers. And, of course, I was the proprietor, sales manager and salesperson.
Of all the businesses I have ever owned, this one offered the best return on investment. There was no business license, no taxes to pay, no rent, and the cost of the goods I sold was free thanks to my mother’s generosity. Every penny I made went into my youthful pocket, to be spent later on such essential kid items as red licorice, root beer and comic books.
Today, whenever I pass by a Kool-Aid or lemonade stand, I purchase a drink to support the young entrepreneur or entrepreneurs. Really, here’s the rationale: I can pay 50 cents for a drink there or I can keep driving and pay $3 at Starbucks. So, as you can see, after all these years roadside beverage stands are still providing an outstanding return on my investment.