Lemons, Sugar, Water… Business License?
Technically, even a child’s lemonade stand falls under the same rules and regulations as other temporary businesses. The Denver Police Department said in a recent Facebook post it doesn’t go out of its way to enforce “matters of this nature.” However, after they shut down a stand in Stapleton following complaints, it begs the question: What is required to set up a lemonade stand in full compliance with Denver’s ordinances?
The first step is determining the type of temporary business license you need. Eric Escudero, director of communications for Denver Excise and Licenses, said in an email that the two following licensing procedures “cover the laws for selling lemonade anywhere in Denver.”
- Peddler—Perhaps the simplest way to get lemonade to the masses is selling prepackaged soft drinks as a peddler. Because the drink was manufactured and sealed in a facility that meets food safety guidelines, that product can be sold to the public directly.
Forms required: Food peddler application, signed guidelines form, criminal history form, affidavit of lawful presence, two character references, a Colorado Bureau of Investigation name check and photo ID. Children 12 and over require a peddler sponsor.
Fees: Application: $25; License: $50; Colorado Bureau of Investigation Name Check: $6.85.
- Restaurant-Temporary—If you fancy yourself a gourmand and prepare your own lemonade (either fresh-squeezed or powdered), you are supposed to procure a temporary restaurant license and the additional food preparation requirements. While this license might appear to require fewer forms, the requirement for an inspected kitchen or “commissary” is a significant hurdle. To ensure food safety, items have to be prepared at a food-safe kitchen and the lemonade stand itself is required to have things like hot and cold running water.
Forms Required: Affidavit of Commissary, Temporary Restaurant Acknowledgment Letter, Federal Employee Identification Number and a list of all events the business is planned to operate at.
Fees: License Fee: $100 plus $10 per day for the first 5 days. Fees can be waived if all proceeds go to a nonprofit.
- A final consideration is location. The lemonade stand shut down in Stapleton was also near a park. To operate within 300 feet of City and County of Denver parks and parkways, there is an additional permit with a $25 application fee and either a $100 one-day fee or a $200 monthly permit.
- In the end, is it really feasible or even worth it for a child to go through all these steps just to set up a lemonade stand? That’s up for debate. But what this process does show is the great lengths to which others operating a temporary business must go before setting up their stands.