Vicktor Stevenson knew at the outset of the first shelter-in-palce order in March that his lemonade stand, Gourmonade, would have to close. And now, the window on Valencia Street that opened in 2018 is closed for good.
“My wife has asthma, and my father-in-law was staying with us at the time, and I didn’t want to put my employees at risk, either,” Stevenson said.
A month after the start of shelter-in-place, somebody broke a hole through one of the lemonade stand’s glass windows, costing the entrepreneur $1,000 in damages. Stevenson announced he was permanently closing Gourmonade not long after the vandalism and focused his energy on organizing deliveries and figuring out how to make his own website.
“Like anything in business, you have to pivot and make moves. I had to move my whole business online,” Stevenson said. “It’s challenging for me because I’m more of a people person.”
But he had something of a kickstart with a wholesale order late last year with Rainbow Grocery stores. Now, he sells at Mud Lab, a zero-waste cafe and grocery store in Oakland, as well as on Good Eggs, a delivery app.
Much of Stevenson’s business, however, still comes from direct orders and deliveries, which he makes himself. The entrepreneur has returned to the pop-up scene, dabbled in hosting virtual drink-mixing classes and started a subscription service.
Customers from as far as Maryland and Alaska sign up for weekly or biweekly shipments of lemonade, he said.
“It’s usually word of mouth, just people spreading the word. The product speaks for itself,” Stevenson said.
The biggest benefit of being online is not having to pay rent for the stand. He still retains a kitchen where he makes his many different lemonade flavors, but not having the stand drastically decreased his overhead.
The second benefit of doing mostly delivery is the ability to make each order fresh.
“When I get orders, I’ll go to the kitchen to make it that night and deliver it the next morning, so it’s as fresh as it could possible be,” Stevenson said, “Lemonade made for you, literally.”