Hayli Martenez, an 11-year-old girl from Kankakee, Illinois, had her lemonade stand shut down by health officials after they determined her business to be unsanitary.
Hayli sold lemonade for 50 cents a cup from her front porch and became so successful that she was the focus of a local news article about her business. The article caught the attention of authorities who claimed since the young girl’s home had no running water or sewer services, she would not be able to continue selling lemonade due to sanitation concerns.
Iva Martenez, Hayli’s mother, told CBS 2 that she was in disbelief. “‘Are you serious? Are you really serious that we have to stop making lemonade?’ and that’s when he hit my nerve when he said: ‘Yeah, you people have to stop selling lemonade.’”
Martenez says even though her faucet isn’t currently running, her daughter uses bottled water, much of which is donated, to create her product.
Kankakee County Health Administrator John Bevis spoke with CBS 2 by phone and said they became concerned after they believed Hayli was also selling smoothies with fruits and vegetables. And for that, according to Bevis, a permit is required.
“When you cross that line, we can no longer overlook that,” he said. “Those are health issues. We have to prevent food-borne outbreaks.”
Hayli though is not discouraged and is determined to get her business back up and running. She still believes she has the best lemonade in town and it’s helping her future in the process.
“I get to see everybody smile when they taste my lemonade,” she told the news station. “I can go in my bank account, get it out, and I can go to college. I really want to go back to selling lemonade,” she continued. “That was my dream and I’ve had a lot of fun selling it.”
According to Hayli’s mother, she is a little more than $200 behind in her water and sewer bills. Fundraisers are being planned around town to help renew Hayli Martenez’s dream.
Photo: Burke/Triolo Productions