Denver finally legalized it: Kids can now operate lemonade stands

Brothers William Guffey, 4, (left) and Ben Guffey, 7, decorate balloons outside the City Council Chambers on Monday, Sept. 17, 2018, in Denver.

Brothers William Guffey, 4, (left) and Ben Guffey, 7, decorate balloons outside the City Council Chambers on Monday, Sept. 17, 2018, in Denver.

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

Parents and guardians of entrepreneurial children rejoice: Your kid’s lemonade stand is no longer subject to the city’s food licensing laws, thanks to a Denver City Council vote.

The council on Monday passed an ordinance creating an exemption to licensing requirements for kid’s lemonade stands. The move was sparked after someone complained about the lemonade stand Jennifer Knowles’ children opened in Stapleton in May. The complaint led to cops showing up and shutting down the stand, which wasn’t allowed to operate under the current city ordinances because the kids didn’t have a permit.

Knowles and her three boys — Ben, 7, William, 4, and Jonathan, 2 — reopened their lemonade stand outside the council chambers on Monday to celebrate the law’s passing. She thanked the council and her representative, Chris Herndon, for their swift action in helping change the law.

Herndon recognized the children for their “entrepreneurial spirit.” The bill was co-sponsored by Councilman Paul Kashmann.

Knowles was thankful for the community’s support.

“I’m thrilled,” she said before the council’s vote. “I’m thrilled that kids across the community can have lemonade stands and know they’re following the law.”

Licenses are usually required for people to operate a temporary retail food establishment, including pushcarts, among other food and beverage-based establishments.

Under the law now, a “children’s neighborhood beverage stand” would be defined as a temporary establishment that is:

  • Operated by a kid under 17
  • Located in a neighborhood, which is defined as an area within the city and county limits zoned for family or multi-family residential use
  • Providing beverages including lemonade, hot or cold tea, coffee or hot chocolate served in single-use, disposable cups
  • Opened a maximum of 84 total days during a calendar year
  • Open at least 200 feet from a temporary food vendor selling beverages permitted by the city’s Parks Department or licensed by the Department of Excise and License
  • Open in a way that doesn’t obstruct the public right of way

“I’ve been waiting for this…I wanted to say cheers to you all for that,” Herndon said on Monday, gesturing toward the children with a cup of their lemonade.

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