In the Florida town of Dunedin, many adults see 12-year-old T.J. Guerrero’s lemonade stand as charming, a throwback to simpler times.
The boy put a lot of thought into his stand, they say, testing locations and different times of the day to see what worked best at attracting customers.
He found Patricia Avenue and San Salvador Drive the top spot – much to the chagrin of Doug Wilkey, a 61-year-old man who lives next to the stand.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Wilkey has been complaining to town officials about the stand for over two years now. He wants it gone, he said, because it is an "illegal business" that brings with it headaches in the form of traffic jams, noise, littering, loitering – you name it.
The stand operates between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. and sells regular and strawberry lemonade for $1 a cup, and homemade cookies for $0.50.
"Please help me regain my quiet home and neighborhood," Wilkey wrote in one of his many letters to town officials.
Wilkey has said in letters to officials that his biggest source of frustration is that the stand is at the spot year-round.
"If this were a once a year event by a couple kids to earn a little money for a holiday or something, I would not have a problem with it," he sad. "I am very worried about the value of my home, which is why I built in a residential area, not a business area."
T.J. seems to take it all in stride, matter-of-factly addressing his stand, from which he also sells cookies, in business terms.
"It's all about profit," said T.J.
The young entrepreneur has used money from the stand as well as lawn mowing services to buy an iPod, pay his cellphone bill and treat his mother to dinner.
Town officials say they are not about to wage a war on kids who have lemonade stands.
"We're not in the business of trying to regulate kids like that; nor do we want to do any code enforcement like that," said Dunedin planning and development director Greg Rice, according to the Times. "We are not out there trying to put lemonade stands out of business."
The newspaper said that T.J. lives four doors down from Wilkey, whose next-door neighbor, Rodney Shrode, allows the boy to use the sidewalk in front of his corner lot home.
Deputy Wayne Gross took a survey among the neighbors and found that they were generally supportive of T.J.’s business. Two allow the boy’s customers to park in their driveways.
Some said they could not believe anyone was going out of his way to shut the stand down.
"I had one when I was a little kid. We all did," said Vincent Titara, 24. "I think it's cute."
One of the boy’s most loyal customers is truck driver Dan Wright.
"I tried the strawberry before and it's perfect," he told T.J., removing his hard hat and wiping his brow, the Times said. "That's what it's about. He's willing to work."