Portland, South Portland kids learn to squeeze a buck

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Hundreds participate in Lemonade Day Maine

SOUTH PORTLAND — Bradford Redmond and Max Maniaci hit the sidewalk Sunday with a mission.

The two children joined more than 750 others who signed up for Lemonade Day Maine, an event designed to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit in children.

Bradford, 8, and Max, 7, set up shop at the corner of Plymouth Road and Highland Avenue, where they sold brownies, cookies donuts and lemonade with lemon slices and mint.

No neighbor or passerby could get within earshot of the thirst-quenching business without Bradford making his pitch.

“Do you like lemonade?” he yelled to a neighbor across the street who had just stepped out of a car. He was determined to make the sale, and for good reason.

“I want to be a lemonade seller when I grow up,” Bradford said.

Lemonade Day participants were encouraged to save some of their profits and donate some to charity. Bradford said he was going to give some of his cash to benefit animals. Max was going to help out the Preble Street soup kitchen in Portland.

On Boothby Avenue, Aaron Matthews, 9, was working for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Following instructions from Lemonade Day Maine, Aaron sought investors for his stand. Those investors provided start-up support, which included a professional sign and a stylish lemonade dispenser.

Aaron’s lifelong business plan was already sketched out, even before Lemonade Day.

“I’ve always liked business,” Aaron said. “I want to own my own restaurant someday, and be the chef there. … Then I want to retire in Cape Elizabeth and own a farm.”

In Portland, at least five separate lemonade stands were set up in Tommy’s Park, in addition to stands that dotted the Old Port and Congress Street.

Children from the Boys and Girls Club of Southern Maine set up outside Sonny’s on Exchange Street and sold regular lemonade and “Bubbly Breeze Tea,” a homemade sparkling recipe.

Damien Moulton, 6, and Amy Bedard, 5, operated a well-crafted wooden cart with their aunt, Sharon Calhoun. The kids had painted the cart yellow and decorated it with handprints and footprints. Damien was excited to open his own bank account after Lemonade Day, but said running a business wasn’t easy.

“It’s so hard to be outdoors when it’s hot out,” he said.

Kate Krukowski Gooding, executive director of Lemonade Day Maine, said she was elated with the success of the event.

Gooding said Lemonade Day is important because Maine’s educational system doesn’t devote much time to entrepreneurial skills.

“Everything is academic or vocational,” Gooding said. “An entrepreneurial track would be beneficial to help young people understand business plans and starting a business.”

Lemonade Day started in 2007 in Texas, but has since spread around the country. Gooding said 68,000 kids participated in 14 cities in 2010.

Gooding said her husband, Don Gooding, first discovered Lemonade Day online. The Goodings contacted the executive director in Houston and Kate Gooding fell in love with the project.

“I could see how I could build on it,” Gooding said. “It had a future in my mind.”

Gooding said she hopes to ride the success of Lemonade Day to more events and activities designed to encourage children’s business sense.

Mario Moretto can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 106 or mmoretto@theforecaster.net. Follow Mario on Twitter: @riocarmine.

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Bradford Redmond, 8, holds a cup while his business partner, Max Maniaci, 7, pours the lemonade Sunday at their stand on Highland Avenue in South Portland. The two young entrepreneurs were participating in Lemonade Day Maine.

Jasem Al-Jubyly, 11, and Donna Thach, 10, work the Boys and Girls Club of Riverton’s lemonade stand at Tommy’s Park in Portland. Jasem and Donna were just two of hundreds of children who participated in Lemonade Day Maine on Sunday.

Aaron Matthews, 9, pours a cup of lemonade for a customer during Lemonade Day on Sunday at his stand on Boothby Avenue in South Portland.

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