ALLIANCE, Ohio (WJW) — Eight-year-old Asa Baker has spent this year’s hot summer days running a lemonade stand, mostly from in front of her family’s home just outside the city limits of Alliance, Ohio.
“It’s fun, and you get lots of people,” said Asa, adding that where she lives, a lot of truckers stop to buy some lemonade or treats from her stand, many times leaving more than the $1 per glass she charges.
But during the City of Alliance’s Rib and Food Festival this past weekend, Asa asked her father if she could set up her stand outside of the downtown business where he works, in an alley about half a block from the festival. With the permission of the business owner, Asa set up her stand.
Later, she says, a police officer approached and asked her to shut it down.
“Well, they were really sad they had to shut me down, but they gave me $20 to try and pay for it,” said Asa. The girl said the $20 given was intended to pay for a permit she needed to be selling refreshments.
“We looked it up, and it was pretty much anywhere in Ohio. You have to have a license, and I’ve never heard of that,” said dad Kyle Clark.
And he’s right. There are only 14 states where a permit or license is not required to sell lemonade at a lemonade stand.
Although police rarely enforce these laws, Ohio isn’t one of those states.
Alliance Police Lieutenant Don Wensel says the city is not out targeting kids running lemonade stands, but in this case, there was a complaint from festival organizers. Once the complaint was filed, the police department is obligated to enforce city ordinances.
In the codified ordinances of the City of Alliance, it’s stated that any vendor must obtain a license before opening — with no exceptions, not even for children’s lemonade stands.
“Later that day, I made a [social media] post in appreciation for the officer that gave her the money for shutting it down,” said mom Katrina Moore. “You know, as unfortunate as it was, I still was very grateful that he was at least able to give her $20.”
The post caught the attention of numerous people, including local business owner Eric Strata.
He made space in front of his business, Black Sales Liquidation, where Asa could sell her lemonade and treats. He even used his own tip jar to collect money so Asa could buy her permit.
Strata says in just a few hours, he collected about $250.
But some of the adults say they still don’t understand which permit is appropriate for a child to get to sell lemonade.
“In order to get a food vendor’s license, it only lasts for five days, and it’s $40 for five days,” said Moore. “So that’s kind of out of the picture. If she wants to sell on the street, she has to get a street permit. If she sells in front of a business, we have to get a solicitor’s permit.”
On Friday, Baker’s lemonade stand was back up in front of Strata’s business, where police said they were not going to bother her. Several customers were stopped to buy lemonade and snacks or to just make contributions.
“I understand the rules. I understand why she got shut down,” said Moore. “It’s just a sad, sad situation.”