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Lemonade profits pour in

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PROVO — For Father's Day, Ryan Kaiser wanted to get something nice for his stepdad. So he started selling lemonade.

A week and a half later he had enough money to buy the present he wanted — a DVD player.

His mother wasn't as lucky. Kaiser took her to Chuck-a-Rama for Mother's Day.

Running a lemonade stand is usually a spontaneous summer activity, like running through the sprinklers, that might help someone like Kaiser earn enough money to buy a few baseball cards.

But Kaiser, 13, has turned it into a part-time job that pays him about $7 an hour. He has sold lemonade nearly every day this summer from the corner of 500 North and 700 East in Provo.

He estimates that he makes $100-$200 a week selling mostly to students who are coming home from class at Brigham Young University. He sells lemonade for 50 cents a glass and Otter Pops for a quarter.

It's a perfect location, he says, because of the stop sign on the corner.

"When people stop they see my sign, then they go around the corner and park," he says. "I sell mostly to girls."

Kaiser has been thinking of ways to earn money since he was 6 years old, when he went door-to-door selling bread his mother had made.

"I started out with candy," Kaiser says, recalling his transition from door-to-door salesman to street corner merchant. "Then I started selling candy and lemonade. Then I moved on to just lemonade."

Kaiser sets up his stand, which consists of a card table, two chairs, a water cooler and a money box, every day at about 10 a.m. He usually works until 5 or 6 p.m., taking breaks when it gets too hot.

On Independence Day a neighbor gave him a white plastic hat with red, white and blue stripes to shade him from the sun. It helped, but in heat that reached 106 degrees, Kaiser had to periodically use the neighbor's garden hose to cool off.

Days later, he was still wearing the hat and had kept two small American flags taped onto his cooler.

"I want to buy a Playstation II and a digital camera. But I haven't really been dedicated to my goal until the last couple of days. So I only have $30 or $40 saved."

Kaiser stops talking and points out his mom, who is riding up the street on a bicycle with a pitcher of lemonade.

"I'm really proud of him," she says. "Sometimes he gets discouraged, but he's got a lot of business ideas."

If Kaiser can save up enough money to buy a furnace, he says he will set up a hot chocolate stand in the winter. He plans to keep selling lemonade until he is too old to be cute. He guesses that will happen when he turns 15.

E-MAIL: jhyde@desnews.com