Grace Bova and her friends just wanted to help. They were listening to their parents' plans to participate in the "Race Against the Sun" 5K-road race to support melanoma research, when Grace brought up the idea of running a lemonade stand for the cause. "[The parents] would always be working on the race and doing stuff for sponsors, and we would sit around listening them talk about it," says the 11 year old, "But we wanted a way to help, too."
The cause hits close to home for Grace and her friends. Their neighbor, Jennifer Coleman, has been battling Stage IV melanoma for three years. Grace's idea helped inspire an entire neighborhood -- and surrounding community -- to take on the cause. On Saturday June 30, 2007, Grace, with the help of her friends and neighbors, ran the "Race Against the Sun" lemonade stand in Macungie, Penn. Their efforts helped raise an astonishing $4,235 for melanoma research -- all of it given to St. Luke's Cancer Center in Pennsylvania.
"[The stand] was my idea," says Grace, "then my sister and my friends, the daughter of Mrs. Coleman, and a few of the neighbor's kids helped out, too." Not only did the kids help out, but parents also pitched in by helping get the word out before the stand opened that Saturday morning.
"One of the neighbors called the local meteorologist about the lemonade stand," Grace says. "[The meteorologist] said that he got a lot of stories for fundraisers and stuff, but our story popped out." That Friday evening before the stand opened, Meteorologist Ed Hanna of WFMZ-TV Channel 69 interviewed Jessica Coleman and Grace. "People got attracted to the news truck, so we made our first $200 that day," she adds.
Promotion of the lemonade stand didn't stop there. Grace popped 100 flyers in neighborhood mailboxes, a copy of the flyer was e-mailed by Mr. Coleman to his mailing list of 150 people, signs at busy intersections in the neighborhood were posted, and the story of the stand was covered by a local radio station. Planning only to be open three hours that Saturday, Grace says they had so much traffic it was impossible to shut down. "We were supposed to start at 9 and go to noon, but people just kept on coming," says Grace. She and her friends sold lemonade that day from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., going through at least 10 gallons.
However, not all of the money was made by selling lemonade. "We got a lot of donations," she says. "People would drive by because they heard about it on the radio, and they wouldn't get out of their cars -- they'd just hand us a $20," Grace says. "Or people would buy two lemonades for $5."
Next on Grace's agenda are a couple of more lemonade stands this summer. "There's going to be a church carnival at Mrs. Coleman's church -- we might set up a lemonade stand there," she says. And there's a possibility they'll set up on race day, September 29, as well. Regardless of her future plans, Grace and her friends' accomplishment serve as a great lesson in entrepreneurship, in the power of promotions, and in what a community can do when inspired.
Read Grace's Best Lemonade Stand in America entry.