9-year-old lemonade stand owner negotiates contract with Phalanx

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A 9-year old and her lemonade stand won hearts across North Central Florida, and now businesses are knocking on her door.

Te’yah Alston started her stand to raise money to cover her cheerleading costs, while also giving out free drinks to first responders.

“We decided to bring her here to Phalanx Defense Systems and negotiate with her to actually serve lemonade for first responder appreciation week,” said James Coats, CEO of Phalanx Defense Systems.

Phalanx’s event keeps first responders refreshed with food and games during their lunch break. The company wants Te’yah to set up her lemonade stand at their event for the week of July 23-27.

“I didn’t know business people would invite me to come on a tour and to negotiate about things,” Te’yah said.

Te’yah and Coats negotiated to pay Te’yah $65 per day to cover costs for ingredients, supplies and the hard work of this 9-year-old.

“Te’yah has a spirit of entrepreneurism which you can’t reproduce,” Coats said. “She’s out there growing a brand and you have to send some support that way.”

Coats was also determined to teach Te’yah some business lessons in addition to financial support. He taught her business etiquette and how to negotiate.

“It’s overwhelming,” said Joey Alston, Te’yah’s father. “The way James talked to her and invited her over here, and then offered her a job…it’s just overwhelming to me.”

The community backed Te’yah’s initial goal of paying for a season of competitive cheerleading, but now that those costs have been met, she has much larger goals.

“Now I’m going for school clothes and saving some up once I get my bank account for college,” Te’yah said.

“She’s got a heart that bigger than she is,” said Kim Alston, Te’yah’s mom. “And we’ve always known it.”

Te'yah is hoping by the time the event rolls around, she will also be selling lemonade-flavored cupcakes.

You can visit Te’yah’s stand along NE 11th Ter. in Gainesville. She says she’s usually open between 11 am and 5 pm.

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