HOA shuts down boy's lemonade stand

Article Courtesy of FOX News 13 Tampa Bay

By Michael Shingleton

Published July 17, 2015


RUSKIN (FOX 13) - It wasn't tax evasion, insider trading, health code violations or bankruptcy; eleven-year-old Gavin Gundersen's lemonade stand was shut down because four neighbors complained, and it was against neighborhood rules.

"Why?" Gavin questioned. "I don't see why. Who would they complain?"

The perplexed pre-teen set up shop Friday afternoon outside the front gate at the Hawks Point Development.

"It was perfect," he said. "Everyone has to drive through there."

His business model was simple: sell lemonade to parched neighbors as they return home from a long work week.

"I assume they're exhausted and they'd like a nice refreshing glass of lemonade," Gavin explained.


He purchased - with his own money - bottled water, two flavors of lemonade, cups, lemons as garnish and a festive tub to serve it in. With only $17 in overhead costs, Gavin had the resources to clear at least $10 an hour in loose change.

Until he was told, he can't.

Two hours into his first business venture, Gavin says, a representative of the homeowner's association approached him.

The lady was extremely nice but wouldn't talk to him directly and asked to speak to his parents.

Using a two-way radio, Gavin called them.

"And Gavin says, 'hey Tony, there's someone here that wants to talk to you,'" Tony Spredeman said. "I knew immediately what was going to happen. I knew that there was some rule or regulation that wasn't going to allow him to run his stand."

As Tony walked toward the front of the neighborhood to speak in person with the HOA representative, many thoughts crossed his mind.

"I thought it was ridiculous," he said. "This is a kid in the summertime trying to earn a couple dollars, trying to learn a life lesson of making a dollar... People wonder why kids don't have social skills these days because they're all playing video games and they're not allowed to go outside and act like kids."

Like many parents, Gavin's encourage him to get outside.

His plan was to sell lemonade to save money for the car he wants to buy five years from now when he turns 16.

"Lamborghinis are nice," Gavin joked. "But I'm not going to get one of those. I'll probably get a lower-end car."

Once Tony made it to the front of the subdivision, the HOA representative told him four other neighbors had complained and lemonade stands are against neighborhood policy unless they're conducted on private property and well within a driveway.

Gavin was out of business, pocketing only about $30.

"I knew she was going to shut my lemonade stand down," he said.

His parents don't think regulating lemonade stands should be at the top of the list of neighborhood priorities, and they'd like him to open up shop again.

"Sometimes I think they just go a little bit too far. They're a little bit too by-the-book. I would hope that something -like you said- as innocent as that could be overlooked at least for a day," Tony said.

FOX 13 made several unanswered calls and left a message with the HOA after business hours.