Friends create summer jobs with lemonade stand

Photo by KATHY CLEVELAND Willem Aiston and Michael Merryfield have a coffee and lemonade stand at the corner of Kendall Hill and Remington roads in Amherst.

AMHERST – What do you do when you’re 12 years old, want to make some money but are too young for a paying job?

You start your own business, of course.

So friends Willem Aiston and Michael Merryfield built a stand from leftover lumber, set it up at the corner of Kendall Hill and Remington roads and last week, and sold iced coffee, lemonade, limeade and iced tea.

Willem wants a new bike and his own internet server. Michael wants pocket money for summer camp. Their goal is to net $800 for the summer – and they just might do that, because this isn’t your typical lemonade stand.

The coffee is organic, a Portland, Maine, brand called Speckled Ax Wood Roasted. There is a choice of half-and-half or 2 percent milk, and homemade simple syrup for sweetner. The cup lids are environmentally friendly, made from cornstarch. The lemonade is Paul Newman’s brand, but Willem said homemade lemonade is planned.

Their first day was Thursday, June 22, a warm, sunny day, and the boys made a profit of about $20.

The next day was overcast, and they seemed a bit bored.

“It’s kind of fun when we have people coming,” said Willem, who goes to the Academy for Science and Design in Nashua. Michael is a student at Amherst Middle School. They’ve been using spreadsheets to keep track of what’s selling and what isn’t, what supplies they need to buy and when they need to buy them.

Lemonade, limeade and coffee are the big sellers. Iced tea and water, not so much. Because of the success of coffee, which they sell in 12-ounce ($2) and 20-ounce sizes ($3), they might try offering a larger size. Bottles of water aren’t selling well, so they might try a fill-your-own option.

Willem’s mom, Tricia Aiston, works behind the scenes, every morning making a pot of coffee and boiling water with sugar to make simple syrup for sweetener.

The boys are thinking about ways to market the stand, beyond the Burma Shave signs that line Kendall Hill Road.

As of last Friday, they were still working out a schedule for when they will be open and were meeting with another boy they were trying to recruit to fill in when Michael goes to camp this summer. They used spreadsheets to figure out how to split the profits.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or