Jennifer Knowles’ three boys had their Memorial Day lemonade stand shut down by police in Denver, Colorado, on May 28.
Knowles told KMGH that the money was to be donated to a charity, Compassion International:
We have never had a lemonade stand and the boys thought Memorial Day weekend is going to be great weather, so why not have a lemonade stand across the street in the park.
We here are very fortunate and we forget that many kids in the world are not as fortunate as we are in Colorado or in the country, and so I wanted to teach them how to donate money to a charity.
The lemonade stand started off good, noted Knowles, but then someone from a nearby art show called the police:
They got a lot of people coming and praising the boys and telling them that they were doing a great job. That was so good for my boys to hear and for them to interact with people they’ve never met before in a business way.
The police officers came over and they said that because my boys and I did not have permits for a lemonade stand they shut us down and we had to stop immediately.
My boys were crushed. They were devastated. And I can’t believe that happened. I remember as a child I always had lemonade stands and never had to worry about being shut down by the police officers. I mean that’s unheard of.
My 6-year-old he saw the police officers coming over and he ran and he hid. My 4-year-old came over and was looking at the police officer and heard what he was saying. He started to frown and then he started to cry. And it made me want to cry because they were so upset.
Knowles had kind words for the cops:
The police officers, they couldn’t have been nicer, but someone complained about us. It makes me sad that someone would do that.
Knowles wants a new law to allow child-run lemonade stands to operate without a permit.
Denver Police Communications Program Manager Alexandra Foster said that temporary stands usually don’t need a permit:
If our inspectors go to a lemonade stand, it means we’ve received a complaint, and generally complaints stem from high levels of activity or noise that disrupt neighbors. So generally, as long as the impact is minimal, we’re happy to let kids have fun in the summer.
Knowles wants parents to watch out if their kids are planning on setting up a lemonade stand:
I want parents know that they need to be aware that if their kids want to have a lemonade stand there could be repercussions like there with my kids.