Alliance, OH — Asa Baker is an 8-year-old girl from Ohio with an overwhelming entrepreneurial spirit. Over the hot summer, rather than spend the days inside watching TV, Asa would set up a lemonade stand in her front yard to make some cash.
“It’s fun and you get lots of people,” Asa told FOX 8 news in an interview, adding that lots of truckers stop buy and pay more than the $1 per cup that she charges.
“Especially on a country road, I get a lot of people,” she said.
Unfortunately for Asa, however, her summer of entrepreneurial spirit would come to a grinding halt when police shut down her stand for the crime of selling lemonade without a permit.
Earlier this month, Asa had her first experience with the state's iron fist when she set up her stand at her father's business downtown. Everything was cleared with the property owner and she had permission to be there during the town's annual Rib and Food Festival.
Asa was in an alleyway about a half block from the festival and business was good — until police showed up.
Asa says when she saw a police officer walking up to her stand she thought he was going to buy a cup of lemonade. But that was not his mission. Instead of encouraging the little girl's business acumen in the lemonade realm, he was there to shut her down.
Asa had not paid the government for the privilege of selling lemonade from private property and it was this cop's job to enforce this law.
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Highlighting the sentiment behind the "just doing my job" mentality, this officer actually had a conscience and was upset that he had to shut down Asa's stand. But he still shut it down.
“Well, they were really sad that they had to shut me down but they gave me $20 to try and pay for it,” said Asa.
“I could definitely tell he did not want to shut her down, but, I mean, you get a call, he has to do it. He definitely did the right thing, you know, in the situation he was put in,” said Katrina Moore, Asa’s mother.
“We looked it up and it was pretty much anywhere in Ohio. You have to have a license and I’ve never heard of that,” said Kyle Clark, Asa’s Dad.
FOX 8 reached out to the city who stated that the police department is obligated to enforce the city's ordinances — apparently, even if it means quashing an 8-year-old girl's spirit.
In the codified ordinances of the city of Alliance, it clearly states that any vendor must procure a license before opening.
There are no exceptions. Not even for a child’s lemonade stand.
The law is so vague, that the family has no idea what permit to buy — especially for an 8-year-old girl.
“In order to get a food vendors license, it only lasts for five days and its $40 for five days so that’s kind of out of the picture. If she wants to sell on the street, she has to get a street permit. If she sells in front of a business, we have to get a solicitors permit,” said Moore.
The good news is that Asa was unphased and a week later, she was back out on the street, selling lemonade. After the negative press on social media, this time, police said they were going to leave her alone — a win for civil disobedience.