With help from his parents and Triumph Kitchen’s Sommer and Chris Wadsworth, Leroy Hayward’s Leroy’s Lipsmack’n Lemonade could be a sustainable business for years to come.
Hayward is a seven-year-old entrepreneur who was born two-and-a-half months early, weighing four pounds, seven ounces. He had contracted infections at birth and was diagnosed with slow development due to his size. He has hearing loss in both ears and a facial nerve injury. However, after going through developmental programs at Children’s Hospital of New Orleans and Baton Rouge and being put on growth hormones, Hayward’s life improved.
At four years old, he entered the Lemonade Day entrepreneur program, creating his own stand and variation on the drink to raise money for a good cause.
At this year’s Louisiana Lemonade Day contest, his Lipsmack’n Lemonade was named Baton Rouge’s best tasting. During the contest, Hayward and his family met the Wadsworths, who were judges at the event and have helped build Leroy’s business.
“When he won that contest, we said, ‘Ok, let’s see if we can take it to the next level,'” Hayward’s mother, Sherilyn, says. “That’s when we contacted Chef Chris Wadsworth.”
In working with the Wadsworths, the Haywards are trying to give back to the people who helped Leroy the most. An LLC has been created, and the families have made long-term plans, bringing the lemonade stand to events such as the Baton Rouge Food Truck Wround-Ups and Fęte Rouge, as well as businesses such as Cupcake Allie, which features the drink as an ingredient in its lemonade cupcake.
“Had we not crossed paths with [the Wadsworths], we would not be where we are today,” Sherilyn says. “The world is going to label him. Jobs will be limited for him. With him being an entrepreneur, there are no limits.”
The secret behind the drink’s success is purely in the taste. There are no special ingredients, but the balance is perfect, Chris Wadsworth says.
“It’s what lemonade is supposed to taste like,” he says. “It’s something I want him to stay true to.”
For now, those interested in trying Leroy’s Lipsmack’n Lemonade can call the Haywards at 287-4914. The lemonade is available by the gallon for $15, and the stand is available for events.