By Jenny Neyman
This isn’t your average lemonade. No grainy, oversweetened, unnatural-colored powder, mostly diluted in tepid tap water. More like hand-squeezed, ice-chilled, fresh-ingredient culinary masterpieces worthy of Le Cordon Bleu — or pink, when swirled with muddled strawberries, or purple when marbled with a streak of grape flavoring.
There was sugar-free, for a more health-conscious option, blended with crushed ice for a more festive presentation, available in several sizes and with a diverse menu of sweet treats also available from the participants of Lemonade Day, with stands set up in front of businesses across the central Kenai Peninsula on Saturday.
As if the quality and variety weren’t enough to move pints of product, the pint-sized purveyors had additional sales strategies up their little sleeves — one stand had a big painted sign on the highway advertising its acceptance of credit cards; another “sold” lemonade for a donation, often getting more cash than if they’d listed a price of a dollar or two; and most had options for upselling, like an extra 50 cents for flavoring, or another buck for a drink to be blended with crushed ice.
The purveyors of Anya and Truly’s Lemon A-Peel stand in front of Sweeney’s had perhaps the most sure-fire sales strategy of all — “I try to always smile and wave,” said 10-year-old Anya Hondel.
Few were the passers-by to resist that approach, as she and her sister, 4-year-old Truly, enthusiastically grinned and greeted customers in matching lemon aprons, with their lemonade-colored hair held back by yellow-and-white hats knitted by their grandmother, Terri Burdick.
Their menu included homestyle lemonade, strawberry-flavored lemonade, sugar-free lemonade and lemon cookies, and their
yellow- and green-striped stand was equipped with a tip jar to capitalize on any feelings of generosity in their customers. A family at their school, Grace Lutheran, had participated in Lemonade Day last year, so this year the Hondel girls decided to give it a try.
As of noon Saturday the novelty was still fueling their venture. Even 4-year-old Truly wasn’t dampened by the drizzly weather, as she excitedly pointed out her favorite parts of the operation — “My princess chair!” she said of her Disney-themed assigned seat, and, “This is where we keep all the money!” of the secured cash box.
Anya said she was enjoying meeting all the new people, and that even the work part of the job wasn’t getting her down.
“I like making the lemonade. With the sugar we made a syrup, and then we poured lemon juice in it, and it’s pretty fun,” she said.