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Investigating the Legality of Unlicensed Lemonade Stands in Nashville

Lemonade stands have acted as childhood staples for generations.  They give children an opportunity to start a business and sell something that is their own, meanwhile helping customers who are forced to face unbearable summer heat.  Although it sounds ridiculous to question the legality of their harmless nature, reporters have recently circulated stories of children being shut down for selling lemonade without a license.  Lemonade stands in Maryland, Wisconsin, and Georgia were shut down after running into conflict with local ordinances and regulations.

In Midway, Georgia, the police chief shared with a reporter that he shut down a lemonade stand run by three girls because “we were not aware of how the lemonade was made, who made the lemonade, of what the lemonade was made with, so we acted accordingly by city ordinance.”  If your children are participating in lemonade stands don’t fret.  In Nashville, such stands are perfectly legal with few stipulations.  Steve Crosier, director of food protection services at the Metro Nashville Public Health Dept. said that “children younger than 16 are permitted to run a lemonade stand and sell baked goods at public events in Tennessee without a permit, provided they don’t do so more than three times a year.”

So in essence, police won’t be regulating lemonade stands set up in residential areas, but they will “regulate and permit lemonade stands at special events, such as the 4th of July Celebration at Riverfront Park.”  Tami Drake, business tax director for Metro also shared that “Davidson County residents don’t need a business permit if the stand is run out of a residential property and has sales of less than $3,000 a year.”  If your little entrepreneurs want to expand out of the front yard and into something more formal, they will need to find an approved commissary to use as their base of operations, pay a $210 permit fee and comply with numerous health codes (source) (picture 1) (picture 2).

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