A 10-year-old Colorado girl making up to $250 per day selling cookies in her neighborhood had her business crumbled by neighbors concerned the homemade goods were bringing in too much traffic.
Savannah Watters had been setting up shop on a street corner for five weeks in her Cedar Falls neighborhood until neighbors called the cops on her – three times.
“No one had talked to me about anything, they just took it upon themselves and called 911,” Kara Watters, Savannah’s mother, told The Courier.
“The police show up to talk to my daughter.”
The callers said Savannah had been selling the cookies without an adult present and complained that her business was creating dangerous traffic conditions.
Neighbor Melissa Winberg says she called the police after a car, using her driveway to turn around, nearly slammed into her daughter.
“We’ve had too many people coming in that we don’t know,” Winberg said. “My daughter was in our driveway riding her bike, and a car pulled in and almost hit her.”
Winberg says she started using her car to block her driveway from other motorists. But she said her maneuver still didn’t make the street safer.
“We had three semis, a dump truck and four cars parked along the road,” Winberg said
Falls Public Safety Director Jeff Olson says he had to tell Savannah to move a few feet away from the curb. After fielding all of the complaints, Savannah moved her cookie cart to her own driveway.
“I enjoyed it a lot, so then I wanted to have a cookie shop with my mom ’cause it’s always been my dream to do that,” Savannah said of her small business. Savannah’s mom used to be a professional baker and helped her daughter make the cookies.
“I just wish that I could’ve just kept staying there,” Savannah said. Business was so great, Savannah began handing out order forms and business cards to her customers. She used her money from the cookie sales to buy clothing for school.
Savannah is still taking orders from her driveway but her mom is worried her daughter’s business is taking a hit.
“She’s trying to figure out how she can keep it going,” Kara Watters said. “She just wants her customers to know.”
Winberg says the family shouldn’t be short of options for selling cookies.
“To be honest, if her mom wants to open a cookie shop, there are other ways of doing it than making her 10-year-old daughter sit on the corner for seven hours a day,” she said.
In a similar situation, a 7-year-old lemonade stand operator has been put out of business by the New York State Health Department.
The shutdown occurred after vendors at a nearby county fair complained he was undercutting their price, according to the New York Post.
The young entrepreneur, Brendan Mulvaney, was selling lemonade, water and Sno-cones from the porch of his family’s home, which just so happens to be right outside the Saratoga County Fair in upstate New York.
A woman wearing a Health Department T-shirt turned up Friday and shut it down because the family didn’t have a permit.
At first, officials said they couldn’t explain what happened because the Department of Health doesn’t regulate lemonade stands. The state agency — which does food inspections in much of upstate — even issued a public apology Sunday to Brendan “for any inconvenience.”
“We are working to better understand the situation but in the meantime want to assure the community that DOH does not issue permits for or oversee lemonade stands,” spokeswoman Jill Montag told the Albany Times Union.
But hours later, the bureaucrats did an about-face and declared a permit was indeed required, even for a stand on the Mulvaneys’ own porch.
“In the opinion of the inspector, the lemonade stand was in line with vendors inside the fair. He did not see any child,” DOH spokesman Gary Holmes said. “I have zero interest in creating conflict with a family, and certainly not a cute little kid.”
“It’s not about big government overreach; it’s about ensuring safe conditions.”
Brendan’s dad, Sean Mulvaney, fumed to the Times Union, “Yesterday, they issue an apology and today I need a permit.”
The permit costs $30 and is good for a year. Holmes said the DOH would expedite any application from the Mulvaneys.
The reversal left Brendan’s mom and dad frustrated, especially considering the stand had been operating for three years without incident.
“We’re just going to sit down as a family and figure out what we’re going to do here,” mom Jodi said. “It’s just what we did. It’s America.”
State Sen. Jim Tedisco (R-Saratoga) visited the kid’s stand Sunday afternoon and said the state government had gone haywire.
“There’s nothing that says America more than apple pie and kids running lemonade stands,” he said in a statement. “What has our state government come to?”
The youngster was charging 75 cents a cup for pre-mixed lemonade, while fresh-squeezed at the fair was going for about $7.
There was no immediate comment from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
August 2nd, 2018