When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. And Leroy’s Lip Smack’n Lemonade has been doing so since 2012.
It’s run by 14-year-old Leroy Hayward III. Along with his parents Sherilyn Hayward and Leroy Hayward Jr., Leroy came up with the brilliant idea to participate in Lemonade Day Louisiana back in 2012. The event teaches kids entrepreneurial skills by running lemonade stands. For the Haywards, it was life-changing.
Ever since, Leroy’s eponymous lemonade business has prospered. His special take on lemonade is now bottled and sold in more than 10 locations across Baton Rouge, including groceries, restaurants and stands in Tiger Stadium. The Haywards are hoping to get into the local Whole Foods and a Mississippi-owned grocery store. Next: They plan to connect with businesses across the nation.
“We are going to make Leroy’s Lip Smack’n Lemonade a household brand,” Sherilyn says. “We want it sold in every local store across the country. And I say ‘local’ because we love supporting local.”
When the pandemic threw more challenges at businesses last year, the Haywards didn’t get discouraged. They got creative. They bought a truck, and the lemonade stand went mobile. It allowed them to keep sales contactless and safe, but it also opened doors to new opportunities and ideas, like selling smaller, individual-sized 16-ounce bottles.
The dream doesn’t stop there, though. The ultimate goal for Leroy’s Lip Smack’n Lemonade is to make it to the happiest place on earth.
“It belongs there in Disney World,” Sherilyn says. “It is a child business; why not be in a child’s place?”
Plus, being involved with brands focused on children allows the business to do what it was made to do: inspire. The lemonade business serves more than just a refreshing drink—it’s a wake-up call that there are opportunities for everyone to thrive.
Leroy has a growth hormone deficiency and hearing loss in both ears.
“We want our brand to be known for what we do: helping and inspiring special needs children like Leroy,” Sherilyn says.
The Haywards’ motto is “use your difference to make a difference,” and they hope to encourage other children to not see their differences as setbacks.
The lemonade business, after all, has made a difference in Leroy himself. Before, he was more reserved and did not enjoy being around people. Now, he loves interacting with customers. He knows every location his lemonade is sold from and often even rolls the lemonade into the store himself. He’s truly found his niche.
“I am a champion. I’m a leader,” Leroy often says.
His mom adds, “The business has helped Leroy more than it has helped anyone else. It’s gotten him out of his shell.” leroyslipsmacknlemonade.com
More than a lemonade stand
What can other kids learn from Lemonade Day Louisiana? The event that inspired Leroy III to open his business was started by John Georges and Todd Graves. They recall learning about entrepreneurship running lemonade stands as kids. According to the event’s website, kids who open a lemonade stand on Lemonade Day will learn:
Supply and demand, plus all those other complicated key terms from college econ classes.
College and career readiness
Teamwork, customer service, branding, and other traits they’ll want for their resumes.
Time management, leadership and goal setting—running a stand will have them thinking about their long-term futures.
Reading, math, writing—selling lemonade will sharpen the skills they’re practicing at school.
This article was originally published in the April 2021 issue of 225 magazine.