I want to introduce you to Mac of “Mac’s Lemonade Stand” which is open for business on any given afternoon along Hubbard Street. Once you learn Mac’s story you will understand why we felt compelled to officially sponsor Mac’s Lemonade Stand as he is the perfect metaphor for locally made, locally created and locally grown which is what the Glastonbury Farmers Market is all about.
Note: Mac’s Mother, Veronica Southby has given me permission to share Mac’s story:
Last year the Southby’s, who are a military family, moved back to CT after20 years of military service in Texas. Mac’s Mother is a retired military surgical nurse, Dad is a civilian still working and living in Texas. Their oldest son Mac (age 10) wanted a new bicycle and decided he would raise the money by opening a lemonade stand.
So Mac outfitted his Red Radio Flyer wagon with Dixie cups, a napkin (he uses that as a tablecloth) and his Mom’s special lemonade recipe. He made up a sign “Mac’s Lemonade!! 100% Fresh 25 cents” and pulling his wagon from behind, he set off down Hubbard Street to find the perfect spot.
According to his Mother, her son’s first week selling lemonade was a circus. Several neighbors had begun calling the Glastonbury police to complain! She stated the police were very supportive of Mac’s business enterprise and figured out how to resolve the neighbor’s concerns and still allow Mac to stay in business.
Then on opening day of the Glastonbury Farmers Market, someone saw Mac sitting at his stand down the street from the farmer’s market and suggested he move his operation to the farmers market. And so he did!
He dropped anchor (or wagon handle) right next to me and began selling lemonade. He went unnoticed for about an hour before I realized we had a “squatter” at the market. When I went to introduce myself as the Glastonbury Farmers Market Master and with all the gentleness I had, I had asked “who was this budding entrepreneur who thought he could just roll in and set up shop.” I learned from his younger brother (who was holding court while his older brother and Mother had gone back home for refills because they had sold out!) that they were told they could come to the farmers market and sell their lemonade. A neighbor who agreed to stay with the younger brother explained how this all came to pass. I was impressed with the boy’s determination and drive to sell lemonade. I now was feeling really really bad, because I had to evict the illegal lemonade enterprise from the farmers market and I was going to add to an already difficult week for the young lad. When Mac and his Mother returned I politely explained to his Mother why Mac had to stop selling due to not having proper licenses/permits etc. She was gracious but was disappointed. Her boys were having so much fun at the market.
I explained I loved Mac’s entrepreneurial spirit and her son is a great example of our market’s mission which is to support startup businesses. As it turns out, I’ve since learned there is actually a name for what Mac is doing, it called “Backyard/Kitchen Economy” – small businesses are created out of one’s backyard and/or kitchen. Unfortunately, current local ordinances/
CT state regulations make it almost impossible for a business like Mac’s to be successful. Hopefully, someday the powers at be will lighten up on some of the choking regulations so a business like Mac’s could have a chance.
I explained to Mac’s Mother, that if I could work something out I would love to have him come back and if possible, sell his lemonade. Mac was heartbroken when he learned he had to stop. He couldn’t understand why so many people didn’t want him selling lemonade. How do you explain something like that to a 10 year old who only wants to earn enough money to buy a really cool bicycle? It broke MY HEART!!
After the market closed I sent out an emergency email to the Board of Directors proposing we support Mac’s Lemonade Stand. I was thrilled the board voted unanimously to become the official sponsor of “Mac’s Lemonade Stand!” With his Mother’s permission, Mac will display our Farmers Market Lawn sign every time he opens for business. So please stop and support Mac’ Lemonade Stand, and by doing so you will be supporting a really cool locally created business and the mission of the Glastonbury Farmers Market.
Mac will be selling lemonade until Wednesday July 3rd and then he will be away on vacation returning in early August. So if you missed him, he has promised to resume his business in August. In the meantime, while he’s away, it will give me time to figure out how Mac can legally sell his lemonade during the Glastonbury Farmers Market.