CHICAGO — Summertime and sunny skies can only mean one thing for the nation’s youngest business owners: lemonade stands.
It’s a hallmark tradition of American childhood. But in recent years, kids selling this cool drink are getting heat for not having proper permits.
Now a company known for its lemonade mix is stepping in to keep these sidewalk shops running.
Country Time Lemonade is creating a team to help pay fines and permits for kids nationwide who want to run their own lemonade stands. And in the spirit of the drink’s name, they’re calling their initiative Legal-Ade.
The group will cover fees up to $300 for stands that were fined in 2017 or 2018 or for permits bought this year.
“Life doesn’t always give you lemons, but when it does, you should be able to make and share lemonade with the neighborhood without legal implications,” Legal-Ade says on its website. “That’s why we’re here to take a stand for lemonade stands across the nation.”
In a video posted on YouTube, Country Time said the team is “making sure no kid is denied their right to a lemonade stand.”
Last week, two Denver brothers selling lemonade for charity saw their stand get shut down because they didn’t have a permit. In Texas, two sisters set up a lemonade stand to raise money for a Father’s Day present, but they were shut down and fined for not having a permit or health department approval. And in Maryland, fines for permitless stands have reached a hefty $500.
Kids outside of the US are also getting in trouble for selling lemonade, including a girl from East London who was fined 150 pounds.
Adam Butler, Kraft Heinz’s general manager of beverages and nuts, said the Denver incident is an example of what inspired the company to help. Kraft Heinz owns Country Time.
“When we saw these stories about lemonade stands being shut down for legal reasons, we thought it had to be an urban myth. After looking into it and seeing even more instances, we realized these weren’t myths, they were real stories,” Butler told CNN. ” A very real response seemed the best way to shine a light on the issue.”
To apply for reimbursement, parents or guardians can upload a picture of their child’s permit or fine to Legal-Ade’s website. The team will cover up to $60,000 in total.
“So when life hands you arcane laws, make lemonade,” the video says.
The Legal Ade team has received a small number of submissions so far. Butler did not elaborate on exactly how many.