By Shaun Boyd

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

(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.

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.

(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.

(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.

Comments (46)
  1. We require no permit to exercise any of our rights! Government schools have dumbed people down to the point where they think that they need guberment permission to do anything! We need to start charging the psychopaths with treason and hanging them….

  2. Seeking government permission to act is not freedom. Government licensing, permitting and regulating are gross violation of private property and individual rights. They should be abolished.

  3. Mark A Gallo says:

    Lesson learned……………If the man doesn’t get his cut they will shut you down…Just another tax and instead of teaching these kids independence they have now seen it’s no use trying to earn because the Government makes more than you for doing nothing while you take all the risks and do all the work…Do you think the Police could have looked the other way for a few hours so as to not destroy the entrepreneurial spirit these kids are trying to develop?

  4. Paul Trott says:

    Kids are learning an adult lesson early. Government wants your money.

  5. Hi, I’m from the government…and I’m here to help.

  6. Flint Cahill says:

    Barney Fife was on duty and he nipped it in the bud.

  7. That other vendor needs a beating if he’s the one who ratted them out.

  8. What a bunch of nonsense. Embarrassed by what we’ve allowed ourselves to become.

  9. The city charges $125 for a one day permit? The lesson should be about fraud and greed in a bloated city government. Explain to the kids that this type of fiscal tyranny was why the United States was founded in the first place.

  10. Chris Kellam says:

    Lemme guess.. A liberal leftist snitched on little boys doing something positive with their lives…

  11. What a bunch of BS!! These are kids!! Remember those days people, remember??!! Come on.., no need to debate, this is common sense. Good grief, let the children have their day without all the political BS that comes from the adults. Oh and for the person that complained, GET A LIFE!!! This is pathetic!!!!

  12. Enforce the law against an unregulated lemonade stand. Vagrancy by the hundreds? We can let that go.

  13. Mike Gilmer says:

    Liberal Democrat city. Enough said.

  14. That’s the problem with Chicago, unlicensed lemonade stands

  15. Denver is a sanctuary city. Just tell them you are illegal aliens and voila, the ability to sell lemonade all day long. The police might even stand guard to keep your profits from being ripped off.

  16. In the peoples republic of Colorado, you will serve your Overlords. Now go sell some weed to keep your voting base stupid and pliable.

  17. “Denver police shut down a lemonade stand put on by a group of brothers over a permitting issue.” This was a safe apprehension by the Denver Police department. While banks are being robbed, criminals selling dope, (Grass legal there) and murders taking place the Denver Police is hard at work busting 5 and 7 year old kids running an illegal lemonade stand. The Denver Police department should be ashamed of themselves if this is all they have time to concentrate on! The tax dollars are not supposed to be used chasing down children selling lemonade for Charity. My god, Whats the world coming to?

  18. Martin Fox says:

    The good thing the kids get used to submitting to and having their lives run by the government early in life. From an above comment: ” It introduces the young entrepreneur to the process…”. You bet it does!

  19. Robert Blum says:

    The free markets of capitalism had incrementally vanished from the American landscape so very long ago.

  20. That’s our modern day police force…never around when actual CRIMES are being committed (a break in at a home took 30 minutes to respond), but boy they are all over little kids lemonade stands and handing out speeding tickets.

  21. “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.”

    It WAS a lesson in entrepreneurship and charity. You learned that the Statists out there are very hostile to both of those endeavors when it might benefit someone other than themselves.

  22. mudpiesite says:

    Why must we, Americans, ask permission of the Crown to make money? So un-American.

  23. That’ll teach those kids. Now they’ll know where they actually live and it is not the nation on TV or in film.

  24. Permit: When the Government takes away a right you already have, under threat of bodily harm, and offers to sell it back to you for a ‘modest’ fee..

  25. It’s better that they learn to submit to crushing rules and regulations early on so they won’t waste time taking any real initiative as they get older.

  26. Permit or License = When the government takes away a right you always had and then sells it back to you for a profit and to create government jobs.

  27. O George Orwell you were so right.

  28. John Henrick says:

    The city says it’s about health and safety. So how does a permit ensure no health problems, and how does it make the lemonade stand safer?

  29. Gary White says:

    Kids running a lemonade stand is as American as apple pie. Now a criminal activity without a permit. I also saw a story of a kid needing a permit to mow lawns in his neighborhood. This is ridiculous! Who gave big brother so much power and who is ready to take it back?

  30. Frank Ney says:

    Denver PD needs a 25% Reduction In Force. If they have enough free time to harass children and their lemonade stands, there is obviously not enough real crime in the city to justify the manpower and payroll.

  31. This is the America Republicans and Democrats alike want. Keep voting team D vs team R. You are winning.

  32. Too bad the sanctioned lemonade stand was protected from learning the value of competition. $7 a glass?!

    1. Jtom Carr says:

      Realize that the first eighteen sales are needed to pay for the permit. The next two cover the cost of those first twenty sales. Then the vendor must pay a mandated minimum wage, social security, medicare, taxes, unemployment insurance, worker’s comp, and a site fee to the festival. Furthermore, the wages, taxes, site fee, and permit must be paid even if the event is rained out, and he sells nothing.
      The vendor likely has little profit, even at $7, mainly thanks to government.

  33. We had this issue in our town, then the child involved met with city council and they worked out a solution: a child’s business permit, which costs $1. It introduces the young entrepreneur to the process and checks the box for the city.

  34. More proof that cops will do whatever they’re told to.

    1. Hence the reason never to give up our second amendment rights. If they have no issue enforcing this. They will not hesitate enforcing anything

      1. SO are you planning to take up arms against the cops for the right of kids to sell lemonade?

  35. Government at al levels is out of control. Too much nanny state regulations for everything. A bigger problem is how the population at large just accepts it. Even here we see that the parents taking blame rather than praising the added competition of an insane $7 per glass elsewhere. Should have opened a second stand on the other side and called it a franchise!!

  36. Larry Hansen says:

    They were probably afraid the kids were selling pot in the drinks without a license!

  37. David Buller says:

    There might be an issue of how they were on the periphery of an organized Arts Festival. They were getting business because of the Arts Festival, but not paying a fee to the Arts Festival.

    1. “There might be an issue of how they were on the periphery of an organized Arts Festival. They were getting business because of the Arts Festival, but not paying a fee to the Arts Festival.”

      Someone wanted to ‘wet their beak’

  38. This is how we repress entrepreneurial spirit in our young people. The business leaders of tomorrow. We have given up our “hard work makes you successful” model to one of government picks winners and losers.

  39. A kid shouldn’t need a permit to sell lemonade. This is out of control regulation from an all too invasive government.

    1. While people may laugh at this, this IS the “deep state” controlling the minutiae of a
      normal life. Washington DC “takes care of the BIG issues” city hall oppresses on a
      local level. This way all bases are covered.

  40. For such a low key operation and seeing it was for a non-profit charity, the city should have issued a free permit.

Leave a Reply