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Kids Set Up Lemonade Stand in Midtown

By DNAinfo Staff on June 28, 2011 3:09pm

By Jill Colvin

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MIDTOWN — A pair of entrepreneurial kids are bringing a little bit of sweetness to the packed streets of Midtown, selling lemonade from a stand on Sixth Avenue.

Siblings Sonya Koste, 10, and her 7-year-old brother Gregory offer pink and yellow lemonade for $1 as well as a selection of cookies for 50 cents in front of their mom's jewelry store near 31st Street.

"This is really good business," boasted Sonya, who lives in Hoboken, N.J.

"They say, 'Aw!' Look at that little boy and girl selling lemonade out here. They feel kind of excited because why in New York would they see a lemonade stand?"

Sonya said she first got for the idea for the stand about three years ago when she saw kids selling lemonade on T.V.

"I saw all these T.V. shows and I thought, can we sell on the boardwalk in Brooklyn?"

The venture began near her relatives' home in Brighton Beach three years ago. They then set up shop near their New Jersey home, but business was slow. So their mom, Milena Koste, 34, suggested they try the sidewalk in front of Milena K Design, her fashion jewelry store between West 31st and West 32nd streets.

And so far, business is booming.

"It’s good!" said John Mendoza, 46, who works on the block, after taking a sip. He said he was excited to see the stand on the street.

"They're young entrepreneurs, which is pretty cool," he added.

"I do not see this at all," agreed Yolana Anderson, 28, who lives in Harlem, who said this was the first stand she’d seen since the summer began.

She also praised Sonya’s business prowess.

"She’s a good business person. She’s out there, she’s selling," Anderson raved.

Sonya said she's having fun, but she's also on a mission. She and her brother pay her mom back each time she buys them the secret lemonade ingredients — powdered lemon and sugar that her mom mixes in the back kitchen of her store before serving.

As soon as she’s earned enough cash, she plans to head straight to Macy's to buy Justin Bieber’s new fragrance, "Someday," which a near-riot when it hit shelves last week.

Her brother, Gregory also knows exactly what he wants: a bunny — a $78 live bunny to have as a pet, to be exact.

Mom Milena said she hopes that in addition to earning some extra cash to help pay for expensive tennis lessons (and bunnies) her kids will step away with important skills.

"They learn about business this way," she said. "They learn about how selling works."

And despite their makeshift set-up, she said the kids can make a killing, bringing in up to $200 a day in profit for half a day's worth of work.

She said the stand also helps attract business to her jewelry store, which opened during the recession.

And while the extracurricular activity may not pass the city's strict vending codes requiring a license to sell items on the street, mom says the kids aren't doing any harm.

"It’s good for everybody," she said.

The kids hope to operate three days a week through the summer.

The lemonade sells for $1 a cup.
The lemonade sells for $1 a cup.
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DNAinfo/Jill Colvin