Abigail Krutsinger is 4 years old. She lives in Coralville, Iowa. A local tradition there is the RAGBRAI bike ride, where cyclists ride clear across Iowa. Abigail, seeing how exhausted the cyclists were when they reached Coralville, opened up a lemonade stand. It was a way to help out thirsty bikers, make a little bit of money, and learn a little something about running a business. Classic Americana.
In another display of classic Americana, police quickly shut her down. Abigail, who is 4, never applied for a permit and a health inspection.
This is not an isolated incident. Similar crackdowns have happened in Wisconsin, Georgia, Oregon, and Maryland, and New York. Will there be more?
Jennifer Hughes is in charge of issuing permits for Montgomery County, Maryland’s government. She told WUSA, a local tv station, that it is “technically illegal to run even the smallest lemonade stand in the county, but inspectors usually don’t go looking for them.” Some enterprising children recently set up some lemonade stands outside of the US Open, which is played in Montgomery County. They plan to donate the money they make to charity. Officials quickly shut down the stands and fined the childrens’ parents $500.
After a round of bad publicity, the County rescinded the fines. They are also allowing the children to re-open the lemonade stands, so long as they’re on an out-of-the-way road.
It’s good that these children are learning about entrepreneurship and running a business at such a young age. One worries, though, about the lessons Montgomery County is teaching them.