Start a Mobile Lemonade Stand Business

When life gives you lemons, convert a van to a roving lemonade stand and start selling! Learn how two Alaskan men did just that.

| May/June 1972

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    If two enterprising young men can make a go of a lemonade stand business in chilly Alaska, imagine trying this out in a warmer climate!
    Photo by Brian Rogers
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    Start up expenses, 1972.
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    Cost of goods, 1972.

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Two of us decided to start an Alaskan lemonade business after reading "An Ideal Fun Way For A Commune To Make Heavy Bread" in MOTHER NO. 3 . . . and an ad for a Government Services Administration spot-bid sale of used mail trucks. What we did was pay Uncle Sam $700 for a 1965 Dodge one-ton U.S. Mail truck and then spend another $500 (I don't know where the whole $1200 came from!) painting and outfitting the van to transform it into a roving lemonade stand.

Outfitting the Van

We painted the outside of the van ourselves with two coats of bright yellow Plastinamel. Then a friend—Mark Nolden—blocked out the rainbow, sun and lemon tree designs on each side with masking tape and newspaper and spray painted them. We made the bumpers green.

The "Lemon Tree" and "Fresh Lemonade" signs across the top of the van are 3/8" plywood painted yellow with black enamel lettering. Two are eight feet long and two are six feet. Each sign is fastened to the truck body with sheet metal screws and reinforced with 2 x 4's across the top.

Inside, our van has new plywood floors and walls painted with white enamel to make them attractive and easy to clean. A work table (an 18" wide 3/4" plywood top mounted on 2 x 4's) runs the length of one side and a serving table (3/8" plywood on 3/4" plywood legs) across the back is designed to fold out of the way for loading and unloading. Both work surfaces are painted with a couple thick coats of plastic-enamel and trimmed with sanitary-looking metal stripping.

If you're considering this or any other business that requires selling out of a van or truck, get one with enough headroom. Ours has a working area of 6' x 8' and is 6' high.

The Operation

We obtain our water from a state-owned spring 10 miles from our home. It costs us $1.00 worth of gas (gasoline is 50¢ a gallon in Alaska) for 40 gallons of some of the finest water in the state . . . but it's worth it. We advertise our spring water and it helps business.


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