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Child's Lemonade Stand Shut Down For Lack Of Permit

By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4) - Denver police shut down a lemonade stand put on by a group of brothers over a permitting issue.

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(credit: Knowles family)

When Jennifer Knowles helped her sons set up their first lemonade stand over the weekend, she thought it would be a lesson in entrepreneurship and charity.

"The boys went online and they decided they wanted to help a child in another country less fortunate, and we found a place in Colorado Springs called Charity International, and they picked a five-year-old boy in Indonesia," she said.

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CBS4's Shaun Boyd interviews Jennifer Knowels. (credit: CBS)

But they got an unexpected lesson too.

"Someone complained about our lemonade stand," said Knowles.

Turns out, you need a permit to operate a lemonade stand in Denver similar to hot dog, peanut and sunflower seed vendors outside Coors Field.

The city says it's about health and safety, but in the Knowles' case, competition may also be in play.

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(credit: CBS)

The Knowles set up right next to the Denver Arts Festival, where there was a lemonade vendor.

"We had never thought that the other lemonade vendor could feel threatened by our little kid lemonade stand," she said. "I can understand why someone would get upset."

The family sold lemonade 2 for $1 while, she says, the vendor sold it for $7 a glass.

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(credit: CBS)

Still, she plans to make lemonade out of lemons by asking the city to waive permits in the future for kids' lemonade stands when another stand isn't nearby.

"In hindsight we would have never set up where we did, when we did, and we would have just done it another time. Lesson learned," she said.

The lemonade stand wasn't totally a bust. Knowles says they raked in about $200 for charity before police shut them down.

A permit would definitely have cut into profits. It runs $125 for a one day operation.

Shaun Boyd is CBS4's political specialist. She's a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.

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