A 9-year-old from Seattle, Wash., on Tuesday took top honors in Inc.com's first ever Best Lemonade Stand in America contest.
Siena Jeakle, who sold pink lemonade for 75 cents a glass beside a giant eye-catching pink lemonade sign and donated part of the proceeds to breast cancer research, won for best overall concept and design.
Jeakle was flown to New York this week, and on Tuesday received a $1,000 savings bond from the small-business website on ABC's Good Morning America.
Her secret to success was advertising, Jeakle said. "You could see our sign from like a block away."
She also recruited her little sister to hand out coupons promoting the stand in a nearby park. "She's young and pretty cute and that probably got a lot of people to come over," Jeakle said.
The contest, which started during the Fourth of July weekend and closed July 31, attracted hundreds of "kid-trepreneurs" between the ages of 5 and 12 from across the country, said Inc.com Editorial Director Laura Rich.
Rich and other Inc.com editors scoured dozens of completed entries, including photos of each stand, secret lemonade recipes, and business tales, in selecting the winners. She described the contest as "junior entrepreneurship in action."
Jeakle says part of the $56 she earned would go towards breast cancer research, a birthday gift to her 75-year-old grandmother, herself a breast cancer survivor. She said she used real lemons, rather than a frozen concentrate or powder, mixed with a syrup of sugar and water heated over a stove, and though she charged only 75 cents most customers left an even dollar.
Danielle Fisser, who won in the design category, caught customers' attention with her Hawaiian-style Tiki bar stand, complete with bamboo roof, hanging lights, and grass skirt. By catering to the crowds at the annual U.S. Open of Surfing held in Huntington Beach, Fisser makes several hundred dollars every year at just 50 cents a glass.
For his part, Mark Rinkel took out a business loan from his parents and partnered with the Pediatric Aids Foundation to raise funds for treatment -- following business tips he said he learned from Inc. magazine columnist Norm Brodsky. In the first three hours his stand was open, Rinkel said he earned $44.75, selling mostly his two-dollar grown-up size cups. He hopes to raise at least $200 by the end of the summer.
Jeakle said despite her early success, she's not likely to pursue lemonade as a full-time career: "Maybe next summer I'm going to try to sell drawings by me and my friends. That could be fun, too."