Lemonade Stand Could Be Coming To Douglas If City Council Approves Request
A lemonade stand for downtown Douglas could well be coming this summer season and it is an idea Douglas City officials are willing to take into consideration despite some tensions between a hot dog street vendor and other local businesses three summer seasons ago.
“Douglas does need an option for drinks while tourists shop and enjoy downtown,” said Michail White, a long-time local resident whose other business enterprises has included Divine’s Jewelry Store in downtown Saugatuck.
White, who is currently a bartender and waiter at Wild Dog Grille, says his lemonade stand will be an investment of about $3,000 and he plans on it being open seven days a week, from noon to 4 p.m.
“It’s going to be delicious, hand-shaken, freshly squeezed lemonade (and) the kind of stuff you can get at fairs,” he said.
However, White says he is conscious his lemonade stand proposal could open a Pandora’s box, considering the “both good and bad reviews” of Odie Dogs, a hot dog cart business that—with a one-year city permit—set up shop at Beery Field in 2013.
White is aware of the controversy Odie Dogs spurred.
“I will only be offering drinks, not food,” White told council, adding that restaurants are not necessarily open during the day, seven days a week.
Odie Dogs, which was presented as a incubator program, lasted only that one 2013 season; it was shot down by strong opposition from some local businesses owners, claiming, among others things, that the activity would be difficult to regulate and unlike brick-and-mortar buildings, Odie Dogs wouldn’t be subjected to property taxes.
Odie Dogs owner Eric Chaitin told city officials he wanted to offer the public lunch options because there were very few in Douglas. It was an option that would attract visitors and locals alike, he asserted.
“The feeling I’ve gotten from a minority of people is one of great unwelcome. The spirit of the letters addressed to council (from a number of business community members) contained information not based on numerical facts, but contradictory passion,” Chaitin told the Douglas City Council following the 2013 summer season.
Of the lemonade stand, Douglas Zoning Administrator and Community Development Director Lisa Imus noted, “We currently don’t have any mechanism that allows it or does not allow it.”
But Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere noted that just as Odie Dogs, the city would, if indeed it approved White’s idea, enter into a specific contract with White with conditions applied.
The issue is expected to go before city council for formal review in the near future.