Young entrepreneurs showcase their products at Lemonade Day in Utica – Shaw Local

A woman approached the Brownie Bros. table in Utica on Saturday, looked at the homemade treats and asked young entrepreneur Jack Foster of Cherry if he had baked the treats.

“Maybe,” Jack replied slyly. “Maybe not.”

Attaboy, Jack. Tease the customers a bit and let them taste the items. This young entrepreneur from Dimmick School learns quickly.

That, of course, is why the Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce invited local students to its annual Lemonade Day youth fair: to learn the basics of running a business and, just as importantly, to give back.

“Last year we had about eight tables set up – Waltham was our pilot school – and we had a good turnout,” said Bill Zens, executive director of IVAC. “Between the two hours they were here, those businesses made a little over a thousand dollars.”

This year the event expanded to 15 companies from three schools, with Ottawa Central and Dimmick joining Waltham.

Kathy Schultz, a teacher at Waltham Elementary, said she was amazed at the results of last year’s events. Each Lemonade Day 2023 participant raised a minimum of $100 and participated in the classroom activities that followed.

“It was overwhelmingly successful,” Schultz said. “The children were absolutely enthusiastic about the event. It made them want to come back to school, try harder and learn faster.”

Tara Knauf, a fourth-grade teacher at Dimmick, said Lemonade Day has been an excellent teaching opportunity so far and that this is “certainly not the last” time Dimmick will participate. One issue to be resolved, however, is which business will receive the proceeds from Saturday’s sale.

“We’re going to think about that a lot next week,” Knauf said, “but we’re going to have to pay back our investors, including the parents.”

Lemonade Day is a national program that teaches life skills such as business management, responsibility, financial literacy, goal setting and teamwork.

“I knew as a House that this was something we needed to bring to this area,” Zens said.