STORY BY JANIE ROSMAN
Car horns honked as people waved and pulled over in front of the bright yellow smiley balloons in front of the stand where Jordan, Brandon and Cameron Shorte smiled and waved back.
“Lemonade! Lemonade!” they called to motorists driving by Triple Squeezed Lemonade. Several cars stopped; one woman pulled over and offered a few dollars. “Have fun!” she said, and drove away.
Three days per week these future entrepreneurs sell delicious triple-squeezed lemonade, popcorn, strawberries with whipped cream, homemade brownies, French vanilla iced coffee and bottled water to raise money for charitable causes.
“It feels good,” the brothers, who recently turned 12, said about their new business. “We like to help people.”
Younger brother Christian, 6, grinned from behind the stand. “I’m helping,” he said.
Their mom and manager (“momager”) Erica Shorte-Salaman said the boys are well-known and have repeat customers. “I see so many familiar faces.”
The values she instilled in them at a young age are apparent. “I tell them they have to give back to the church, and they have to help others in their community.”
Ten percent of their earning will go to the Spring Valley United Methodist Church, and $1,000 will be scholarship money for a senior from an East Ramapo High School who is saving for college. By the end of their third week they’d raised nearly the full scholarship amount.
“They also decide which GoFundMe page they’d like to sponsor for each week, and whatever amount they make in that week, they take 10 percent and donate it directly to that person’s GoFundMe page,” Shorte-Salaman said.
Brandon, Jordan and Cameron donated $78.20 from their third selling week (July 19 to July 25) to both their church and to family of Christina Vitaliano — daughter of Rockland County Times Unsung Hero and People to People driver Frank Vitaliano — who sadly passed away.
“Our hearts are heavy, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the Vitaliano family,” Shorte-Salaman said. “Please continue to help us help her family during this difficult time. Thank you.” Donations can be made via http://www.gofundme.com/ym7v3s.
When her sons expressed interest in owning their own business, Shorte-Salaman brought them to the library to read about the subject. their mom said. Collectively they’ve read The Power of Positive Thinking, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Keys to Starting a Small Business and Business for Beginners.
She said once they finished the books they decided to try opening a lemonade stand for the summer. Since Shorte-Salaman loves event planning, incorporating other people to assemble the boys’ lemonade stand was part of the fun.
“It has been a complete learning experience for the boys,” she said.
The threesome treats customers with respect and has wonderful customer services skills, approaching each person with a cheery greeting. “Hi, how May I help you?” they ask and close the sale by saying, “Thank you. Please come again.”
Witchell Jean of Spring Valley bought one of each refreshment.
“A friend of mine told me about this (stand) so I looked it up on Facebook,” Jean, a photographer and owner of 7 Day Creation, said. “I was glad to see our youth getting into something great.”
The boys also made a video for their cousin Zaria — who is wheelchair-bound due to sickle cell and cerebral palsy — so she can have a wheelchair-accessible van. They’re asking Ford Motor Company for help so their cousin can get around and participate in activities with family and friends. Her GoFundMe page is www.gofundme.com/5w7q7qgjzw.
You can find them every Thursday, Friday and Saturday weather permitting, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., in front of 83 Williams Avenue in Spring Valley now until they start Pomona Middle School in September.
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