Tag Archives: entrepreneurship

August 20 Is Lemonade Freedom Day

Kids have been setting up lemonade stands for as long as there has been lemonade. But in recent years, regulators have started shutting them down. Robert Fernandes, a father of two, has had enough. That’s why he has declared August 20, 2011 to be Lemonade Freedom Day.

Fernandes is encouraging kids and parents to set up lemonade stands that day without going through the permits, inspections, and fees that many towns require. For more information, visit LemonadeFreedom.org. There is also a Lemonade Freedom Day Facebook event page here.

Fernandes also links to a list of news stories about lemonade stand shutdowns. The list is disturbingly long.

That’s why on August 20, I’m going to take a stroll through my neighborhood to see if any young entrepreneurs are selling unlicensed lemonade. I encourage everyone to do the same.

This is a minor battle, as these things go. But the same obstacles to lemonade freedom apply throughout the economy. Federal regulations alone cost nearly an eighth of GDP to comply with. That sizable burden is a major reason why the economy is still struggling. Lemonade Freedom Day is one way to tell overzealous regulators to back off.

Lessons in Entrepreneurship: Lemonade Stand Edition

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After a round of bad publicity, the County rescinded the fines.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.

What’s at Stake for Entrepreneurs?

Everything. Funny how easy it is to lose sight of that. This video by Caleb Brown shows you in less than three minutes just how much one couple put on the line — so that you can enjoy fine coffee and wine. Too few people appreciate that aspect of capitalism.

By the way, this video is part of a contest. The winner is decided by traffic. So if you like what you see, spread it around far and wide.

Regulation of the Day 52: Bar Food

This one comes courtesy of Jacob Grier, blogger extraordinaire and former colleague.

In Arlington County, Virginia, there exist twelve restaurants that are required to sell $350 of food per gallon of liquor sold.

Isn’t that weird?

Stranger still, this gang of twelve voluntarily opted in to that bizarre requirement. They think it works better than what all other Arlington restaurateurs have to deal with – sales must be no less than 45% food, and no more than 55% liquor.

Again, what a strange regulation.

The reason for the switch from a dollar to a volume ratio is that Arlingtonians are developing a taste for more sophisticated – and more expensive – cocktails. Restaurants are finding themselves pushing up against that 55% barrier even without serving more drinks.

Jacob, who has thought about opening his own establishment, adds:

“this kind of regulation is one reason among many that I can’t imagine ever opening a bar in Virginia. It would be much smarter to eliminate ratios entirely and simply require that food is available to patrons who want it.”

Way to encourage entrepreneurship, Virginia.