When temperatures throughout the Central Coast soared to record highs a couple months ago, Lompoc 10-year-old Micah Miller figured there would be no better time than to open up a lemonade stand to help people cool down.
When the heat proved too extreme for Micah to even sit out at his booth, however, he and his mother hit on an idea that Micah has taken, literally, to the bank.
Micah, a quiet kid with noticeable business acumen, started a website and Facebook page through which his customers can place orders for his various flavors of lemonade. The customers then can either pick up their beverage or have it delivered.
The sites proved to be a hit and Micah’s business, which he says he started “just as a way to make some money," delivered more than he had initially hoped.
“I’m pretty much famous,” Micah said, smiling, not far from his stand at his Lompoc home.
Micah’s business savvy didn’t come out of thin air.
His mother, Julie, and 14-year-old brother Caleb also have their own businesses, as do his grandparents and other extended family.
“It’s in his blood,” Julie said of her youngest son.
Micah’s isn’t your typical lemonade stand operation.
He and his family either pick or purchase the organically-grown lemons and use a family recipe to concoct the drink that has had many locals coming back for more. His lemonades come in three flavors: Traditional, vanilla bean and honey lavender.
“People like the vanilla bean the most,” Micah said, noting that flavor is also his favorite.
The drinks are sold either by the cup, pint or quart. Micah typically mans his stand, which he helped to build with his father, Lon, about one day per month. He also makes local deliveries with his mother about once per month. So far, getting rid of his inventory hasn’t proven to be a problem.
His biggest single-day of sales came July 3, when he moved about nine gallons.
“It’s very surprising when he gets his lemonade (online),” Caleb said. “When he puts it on there, we’ll wait about two minutes and there will be like 10 orders.”
His mother, noting that Facebook appears to be his medium, said she was surprised by the quick response.
“It was insane,” she said. “It was awesome. He made so much lemonade that weekend.”
Micah said he isn’t yet sure what he wants to do with his new income stream. So far, he’s been saving it in a bank account, much like Caleb, who has been running a decorative marble magnet business since he was 7.
He said he’d like to put some of the profits back into the business by purchasing accessories for his bicycle, such as a basket, so he can do his own deliveries. That’s still a couple of years down the road, though.
“They’ll have a nice little nest egg after they get out on their own after college,” Julie said of her sons, who also have been saving their birthday and Christmas gift money for several years.
Julie said she expects Micah, who is home-schooled, to continue to grow his lemonade operation.
“I’m so excited for him, because he’s a kid who’s very focused,” she said. “When he puts his mind to something, that’s it. So (the quick success) was surprising, but I knew he would do well and that he’d take it and run with it. Both of the boys are self-starters.”
The lemonade can be found on Facebook at “Micah’s lemonade."
So far in his initial foray as a business owner, Micah said there have been two main perks, though he didn't give a particular order.
“That I make a lot of money,” he said, “and drinking the lemonade when no one takes it all.”