It’s truly a sweet discovery in Muskoka: freshly squeezed lemonade for the low cost of $5. The cherry on top? A portion of sales goes to help not-for-profit charity in the region.
“We hire a babysitter, half-helper person so they can supervise us and then they just help — they take the money because we don’t want to contaminate the lemonade,” explains Lila Kane, a co-owner of Kane Kids Company.
You read that right — the owners have to hire a babysitter. They’re nine-year-old triplets from Bracebridge.
“My favourite part is to just squeeze the lemons because it’s fun to do it … It’s fun to see all of the different people, how they look, the different personalities.”
This isn’t your typical lemonade stand. There are no cardboard signs or Styrofoam cups. In fact, Kane Kids Company is a registered business. It has been inspected and it adheres to provincial health standards. And, to boot, there’s a complete business plan that includes the potential for expansion.
“We did name it the Kane Kids Company because we might one day not just sell lemonade, like cupcakes or brownies or something. It’s not just the Kane Kids lemonade, it’s the Kane Kids Company,” adds Lila.
Their lemonade is made with “love” and served in completely biodegradable cups and straws — all ideas that came from brainstorming sessions between the sisters, Lila, Sadie and Violet.
“We said there’s going to be some work involved,” explains dad Paul Kane. “You’re going to make some money, you’re going to learn some really cool new skills and you’re going to meet a lot of new people, and they went for it hook, line and sinker.”
It’s clear the kids get their business smarts from mom and dad. The pair are local realtors and are the backing the young entrepreneurs financially, purchasing the metal stand equipped with a cooler to keep the ice from melting.
“We’re treating this like a loan, so yeah, they have to pay dad back on an annual basis. I’m not going to gouge them or anything — it’s going to be paid back like any expense,” adds their father.
The triplets purchase permits for special events and run their stand in local parks when they can. They also have to hire someone of age, as they can’t drive for another 10 years and need supervision. They have a roster of three people they can call upon, and, like any business owner, they know what they want and need in an employee.
“Someone who would help and not just sit around watching and taking breaks all of the time. I would want someone who would be helpful and nice,” says Lila.
Paul said that in the next year, the parents will start dropping the triplets off in and getting them set up, then “mom and dad are out.”
“We’re totally hands off — you make a phone call if you need something,” adds Paul.
The Kane kids have several tough decisions to make on a daily basis. They have to choose work over pleasure and have missed a few sleepovers with their friends along the way.
“It’s really difficult,” explains Lila. “I had to skip the sleepover but I did go for the day birthday party.”
According to mom and dad, the triplets are learning life lessons at the ripe old age of nine, but the major takeaway is understanding what life is like in the real world, where there are bills to pay and schedules to be made.
“They’re nine going on probably 19, which I’m proud of because I want them to be prepared for the economic environment we’re in.”
And they appear to be doing well. We won’t reveal numbers, but the Kane Kids Company is operating well in the black with many more events on their summer calendar.
A portion of the proceeds from lemonade sales goes to Muskoka women’s and animal shelters as well as hospice.