Ohio cop ‘sad’ after nearby festival complaint forces him to shut down 8-year-old girl’s lemonade stand

A police officer in Alliance, Ohio, was “sad” this past weekend when he was forced to shut down the lemonade stand of a plucky little 8-year-old girl after a nearby food festival lodged a complaint.

Asa Baker thinks providing thirsty travelers who pass her parent’s home just outside the Alliance city limits with a cold glass of lemonade during the hot summer months is a great way to pass the time.

“It’s fun and you get lots of people,” she told Fox 8 news.

Often, truckers stop by to quench their thirst for a dollar and perhaps pick up some snacks for the road from Asa’s stand.

“Especially on a country road, I get a lot of people,” Asa said.

So, when Alliance held its Rib and Food Festival, Asa asked her dad if she could set up her stand closer to the action, outside of the downtown business where he works.

With the building owner’s permission, she set up in an alley just half a block from where the festival was taking place and waited to greet new customers.

When a police officer approached her later that day, Asa was given the bad news: He had to shut her down.

Asa didn’t have the proper permit.


(Video: Fox 8)

“Well, they were really sad that they had to shut me down but they gave me $20 to try and pay for it,” Asa said.

Katrina Moore, Asa’s mom, sympathized with the officer, who had no choice but to enforce the law after the festival organizers filed the complaint.

“I could definitely tell he did not want to shut her down, but, I mean, you get a call, he has to do it,” she said. “He definitely did the right thing, you know, in the situation he was put in.”

“We looked it up and it was pretty much anywhere in Ohio,” said Asa’s father, Kyle Clark. “You have to have a license and I’ve never heard of that.”

While police are rarely put in a position where they must enforce it, Fox 8 confirms that only 14 states do not require a permit or a license to run a lemonade stand, and Ohio isn’t one of them. The city’s codified ordinances clearly require a vendor to obtain a license before opening for business — even if the vendor is 8 years old.

“Later that day, I made a (social media) post in appreciation for the officer that gave her the money for shutting it down,” Moore said. “You know, as unfortunate as it was, I still was very grateful that he was at least able to give her $20.”

Moore’s post pulled at the heartstrings of all who saw it, including Eric Strata, who owns Black Sales Liquidation in downtown Alliance.

“I don’t know a lot of 8-year-olds with motivation like that. I know when I was 8 years old I was video gaming it up and I was inside on the couch watching Saturday morning cartoons. I was not doing a lemonade stand trying to make my own money,” he said.

Strata cleared a space in front of his business for Asa’s lemonade stand and set up a tip jar on his counter to collect the money Asa would need for a permit. Just a few hours later, he’d raised roughly $250.

The next step is to discover which of the many permits is fitting for an 8-year-old’s lemonade stand.

“In order to get a food vendors license, it only lasts for five days and its $40 for five days so that’s kind of out of the picture. If she wants to sell on the street, she has to get a street permit. If she sells in front of a business, we have to get a solicitors permit,” said Moore.

“He ( the officer) had to do his job, but it just felt so unjust to me because she’s 8, she’s just an innocent little girl that wants to be motivated and wants to do something with herself,” Strata said. “Why shut that down?”

“I understand the rules, I understand why she got shut down,” Moore said. “It’s just a sad, sad situation.”

But things might be looking up.

On Friday, Asa was back in front of Strata’s business, and the police said they would not be looking to stop her.

Meanwhile, plenty of folks were stopping by to support Asa, making contributions to her permit fund or simply enjoying nice cold drinks on a hot summer day.

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