Many summer days of my young childhood were devoted to Kool-Aid stands. We lived across the street from a park and we would constantly stand at the corner of it and sell the sugary drink for ten cents a cup. It gave us business insight and taught us customer service. However, the real winner were my parents. They would gladly buy us unlimited Kool-Aid packets and sugar to get us off their front lawn. We played whiffle ball every day during the summer and absolutely tortured the grass.
Anyway, I am not kidding you, Kool-Aid stands have a big spot in my memory bank of fond childhood memories. Because of this, as I grew older I always followed the stories that would make news centering on lemonade stands. A kid would raise a bunch of money for a good cause, someone would have their stand robbed, or a sweet little girl would receive an outrageous tip. Pretty much all this stuff is cliché by now in lemonade lore.
Perhaps this is why I was so excited when I saw a new dimension brought to the lemonade stand concept this morning right here at Coastal Carolina University!
The professor of one of our Management 309 classes split the students up into teams. The eight teams then set up lemonade stands around the most scenic and busiest part of campus, Prince Lawn. The students had a budget ($30 I think) and about an hour to generate as much revenue as possible. All proceeds would go to a local animal shelter but the prestige from creating the most successful lemonade stand would swell in the prideful hearts of the victorious students.
I covered the event for #CCUSocialMedia and went around to each stand where I talked to the students. I got a real kick out of the tactics used by the various teams.
One group gave their lemonade a unique texture by mixing and blending it. They decided to strategically forgo a set price and accept donations only. Another group brought an actual dog out as a prop to sway customers. They also had the economical idea of selling their lemonade in cans so people wouldn’t fret about taking it to class or in their vehicles.
The third lemonade stand I went to added an ingredient…iced tea. Yup, this specific team decided to stand out by offering Arnold Palmers. The next group I encountered had candy poured all over its table. If you bought a cup of lemonade you received a complimentary mini candy bar and the option to play water pong.
I went on to the next group and they proudly informed me that their lemonade stand stood out because they had recruited a marketing team to boost sales. Sure enough, the two guys behind the table pointed to Wall Bridge where a few enthusiastic individuals were encouraging students walking across to the Prince Lawn side to splurge on an ice cold lemonade. I then walked the short distance to the next stand where the designated spokesperson for the group told me they had an “incentives program.” If you bought a cup of lemonade or a cup of PINK lemonade you would receive a souvenir cup or a sticker.
I hustled over to the final two stands. The first one on the final stretch was selling TEAL LEMONADE! Not only did that simple fact win my heart over but the color of the liquid was extremely close to the actual official #CCU teal color (it is very hard to replicate). The final stand wasn’t too shabby either. They offered frozen lemonade fresh out of the blender.
Although I didn’t get to actually sample any of the different lemonades, I definitely enjoyed conversing with the students and hearing their sales tactics. My award for best stand (not based on taste of course) definitely goes to the teal lemonade team. What an absolutely genius idea.
You know the best part of all this? The other Management 309 class will be out on Prince Lawn this Thursday at the same time to give their best shot at selling lemonade. I can’t wait to see what they come up with. Maybe this time around I will actually buy a cup. Don’t Blink.