In 2012, fifth generation West Texan and longtime local business leader Charlie Hamilton, along with his wife, Kate, and their two boys, Carson and Conrad, brought Lemonade Day to Lubbock, Texas.
A serial entrepreneur, Charlie started his business career 25 years ago, at age 12, with his first fireworks stand. Little did he know at the time, his friend who had started a snow cone stand across the street would become his business partner decades later.
Since those early days, Charlie has mentored countless new entrepreneurs with the many lessons learned from his business ventures. When he heard about Lemonade Day’s vision to empower today’s youth to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, they had him at “hello.” Charlie became Lubbock’s first City Champion, and the Hamiltons donated the initial seed money to put Lubbock on the Lemonade Day city map.
The first year was a whirlwind, pulling a year-long project off in only a few short months. Glenda Mathis, the Executive Director of the YWCA, and her team, led by right hand Communications Director Jana Hunter, were perfect partners to execute all of the events, registration, and details. The YWCA organized hundreds of registration events and became the training partner for volunteers and other nonprofit youth-serving organizations across the community. Events were held to engage Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, churches, schools, youth groups, and the thirty-one YWCA after school programs. Cathy Landtroop of Landtroop Strategies was recruited as the mouthpiece. Her public relations and marketing firm got the message out that started a snowball down the hill. Three thousand youth were registered that first year and many local business, political, and media partners jumped on board to make it a raging success.
Local youth learned how to set a goal, find an investor, make a plan and a budget, select a location, work really hard, provide good customer service and make a profit. After paying their investor back with interest, they learned to spend some of their profits, save some for a rainy day, and share some with their community. As an added benefit, thousands of dollars were donated back to area charities through the generosity of hundreds of new small business owners.
The results were so impactful that Lubbock was featured at the National Lemonade Day City Director’s Conference August of 2012, giving two presentations during the two-day event. Shortly thereafter, Charlie Hamilton was recruited to serve on the National Board of Directors, while Landtroop Strategies was hired to handle public relations for National Lemonade Day.
Charlie passed the torch to one of Lubbock’s finest men and business leaders, Ron Betenbough of Betenbough Homes, and Ron became the 2013 City Champion aka the ‘Promoter in Chief.’ He and his team retained Glenda and Cathy to continue the charge!
Even more local young entrepreneurs were trained in 2013 as approximately 3,500 backpacks were passed out and over 600 new businesses were created on a single day.
2014 featured our “Future Millionaire” theme and was even more impactful with LISD 3rd graders implementing Lemonade Day into their curriculum. 5,000 backpacks were handed out and 807 stands resulted. Lubbock was selected “City of the Year” by National.
2015 proved to be yet another stellar year as 814 local entrepreneurs were ‘Self-Made with Lemonade” by starting their own business. In addition, Shallowater, Cooper and Frenship ISD’s all joined LISD implementing and further developing Lemonade Day into their curriculum.
2016 launched to the theme of ‘Lemon Wars’ with young entrepreneurs encouraged to pick the dark side or the light side…but either way to embrace that ‘the force is YOU!’
In addition, Ron Betenbough proudly announced the passing of the torch for the role of Lemonade Day City Champion to United Supermarkets CEO, Robert Taylor. Having supported Lubbock Lemonade Day from the start, United hosted the first ribbon cutting kickoff event in 2012, offered locations for countless young entrepreneurs at their stores and were Underwriting Sponsors of the event since 2013.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the generous partners who have not only donated their time and money, but have also utilized their own spheres of influence to make it all work. So, a very special thanks to the 2017 Underwriters, without whom Lubbock Lemonade Day would not be possible: Betenbough Homes, First United Bank, Reagor Dykes Auto Group, Fox34, KCBD, KLBK/KAMC, Landtroop Strategies, Lubbock Land Company, United Supermarkets and the YWCA.