Orange County, CA – Annabelle Lockwood makes the best homemade lemonade around Fountain Valley. Using her grandma’s recipe, a homemade stand built by her father and a lot of passion, she serves the gourmet refreshments – classic or pink lemonade, and flavors like peach, blueberry ginger and watermelon – to eager customers and charitable events.
But her passion is being tested by the regulatory hand of the State. Orange County authorities shut down Annabelle’s “small business” and gave her 30 days to get the proper permit and license.
The permit will cost around $200, but in order to secure the permit Annabelle will have to meet a bevy of government requirements – costing $3,500 – just to serve fresh-squeezed fruit juices to thirsty passersby.
According to the GoFundMe account set up by the Lockwood’s to help meet this financial burden levied by the State:
“1. She needs to upgrade her cart to get it up to commercial standards, in order to pass the inspection.
2. She needs to make the lemonade in a licensed facility. Licensed kitchens require: Liability insurance, a business license, a deposit and an hourly or monthly fee for use.
3. She needs commercial grade dispensers and bottles.”
The family has received enormous support after media began telling Annabelle’s story, but in the meantime she has had to “turn down a wedding, corporate events, movies in the park and church events,” according to local KTLA 5.
Annabelle had previously set up her stand to help charities such as children’s cancer research and homeless services, but that was put on hold pending government permitting.
“This isn’t just another business venture… it’s becoming a life lesson for a young ambitious entrepreneur. She will be able to do so much more in the community as well as at charity and school events to help others. She’s extremely passionate about her business, and we are so proud of her for creating something that so many others can enjoy!”
It’s turning out to be a hard and fast lesson in how government requirements on business – many of which play no role in protecting people or the environment – put a heavy, unnecessary burden on aspiring entrepreneurs. Revenue collection is often the only driver of government permits and licenses.
Bearing down on the age-old tradition of youngsters setting up lemonade stands demonstrates how obsessed the State has become in “regulating” small business.
It appears that Annabelle made it through the gauntlet, with the help of many who donated to her GoFundMe account after reading her story. Others are not so fortunate, though.
In Portland, Ore. an 11-year-old girl wanted to sell mistletoe from their farm at a holiday market to help her dad pay for her braces, which cost $5,000. But the Parks Bureau refused to let her set up without a permit, lease or concession agreement. She was told she could beg instead.