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Gresham finds a sweet opportunity in a sour story

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Jayden Lyons (right) and Devlan Goins have acquired a city business license for their lemonade stand, DJ's Lemonade. They are using the stand to raise money for chess activities at their school. 
A viral story out of Texas has quite literally turned lemons into lemonade for two Gresham boys.

Nine-year-olds Devlan Goins and Jayden Lyons were proud entrepreneurs as they opened their business - DJ’s Lemonade - for their first customer, Mayor Shane Bemis, who marked the occasion by presenting Gresham’s first “honorary business license” for a lemonade stand.

The rising fourth graders explained that they decided to capitalize on the hotter-than-normal summer temperatures and sell ice-cold lemonade to raise money for their school’s Chess Club.

While business permits are not necessary for a front-yard lemonade stand in Gresham, two young girls from Overton, Texas, had a brush with the law over just that when they set out a table with popcorn and lemonade to raise money for a birthday present for their father.

Texas Police shut down the stand saying that it violated a number of city laws and the story went viral the next day. Brent Goins caught it on the news one night and so when his son, Devlan, asked if he could sell lemonade, Brent figured better first check with the city.

“The father of one of the boys called and was like, ‘Do we need to have a license?’ We said, ‘No you don’t, but we’ll be glad to give you one,’” said Jessica Harper, assistant to the mayor. “We thought it was too good an opportunity to pass up.”

City officials say it’s the first time they were asked, and the first time they issued a business license for such a cause.

“Hopefully we can make it clear that this is just for fun and you don’t actually need a license,” Harper explained.

Bemis, Harper, and others from city hall were among those chugging down glasses of lemonade and members of the city’s Chamber of Commerce trickled in through the afternoon.

“I thought, better to be safe,” Brent Goins said of asking the city for a business license. “When I told (Devlan) he was just ear-to-ear grinning.”

For a unique twist on what’s become a tradition of childhood, Devlan and Jayden set out a chess set next to their lemonade stand and challenged customers. If they beat Devlan, 10 cents was taken off the bill.

Sitting in the shade, Devlan’s sister, Bailey, and a neighbor, Madison, seem unfazed by the government guests as they colored signs to advertise the lemonade stand around the city.

“Do we have to pay for these?” Madison asked as Jayden handed her and Bailey glasses of lemonade. “We’re doing work for you.”

Aside from a lesson in bureaucratic red tape, Brent Goins made sure Devlan and Jayden also got a math lesson with their business. Before they set out their lemonade, the boys calculated their estimated profits based on how much was paid for the cups and the lemonade. Brent even urged the boys to fill the glasses high with ice so that the product - and profit - stretched even further.

A sign on the front of the stand advertised the lemonade at a cost of 50 cents per glass.

“We thought that was a pretty good deal,” Jayden said.

Mothers Kandace Goins and Lindsay Lyons took photos as Jayden staffed the lemonade stand and Devlan challenged Bemis to a game of chess.

The boys first took an interest in chess when Devlan’s math teacher taught him how to play after Devlan seemed bored by the problems the rest of his class were solving.

“Devlan excelled in math and (chess) gave them something to do,” Kandace Goins explained.

All in all, the boys pocketed $77.60 from DJ’s Lemonade and the city has kept its commitment of being friendly to small business owners.

Harper said, “Hopefully we can make it clear that this is just for fun and you don’t actually need a license.”