Summer Project Unites NYC Grade-Schoolers With Leading Brand Agency to Create and Operate ‘Dream’ Lemonade Stand in Heart of the City
When one thinks of a lemonade stand, images come to mind of children looking to pass a summer afternoon by selling homemade drinks along sleepy suburban or rural roads. For children from 826NYC, an organization founded by celebrated author Dave Eggers to foster creative writing skills in under-resourced students, this summer rite of passage provided the opportunity to work with leading brand agency CBX on a project to create and operate a colorful tropical oasis-style stand at a busy Manhattan plaza — exposing their group’s mission to thousands of people.
Through ‘The Great Lemonation Imagination Collaboration’ workshop, the students and agency joined together for a two-month project to develop a dream lemonade stand and raise awareness for 826NYC. The students, who range in age from nine to 12, worked side-by-side with the CBX creative team on everything from the naming of the business to the design of the logo, stand, signage, product packaging, and uniforms.
On August 20th, 11 students from the organization came to Manhattan’s Flatiron Plaza (Broadway and 23rd Street) to see the culmination of their efforts, operating the ‘Sweet ‘n Sour Chillville’ stand and collecting donations to support the organization’s work. They and 826NYC officials also had a chance to talk with the public about the group’s after-school programs. All told, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., the students handed out their full supply of 3,000 bottles of ‘Lemon826 Sweet ‘n Sour Lemon Twist’ branded lemonade, raising nearly $3,000 for their Brooklyn-based organization.
Under the students’ vision, the 10-ft. by 20-ft. installation was designed to resemble “a tropical oasis hidden in the heart of New York City’s steamy concrete jungle,” complete with a treasure chest cooler for the product, palm trees, towering Easter Island statues, flamingos, penguins, a misting system, and “Welcome to Paradise” signage. Information on the project and 826NYC was provided on a TV monitor and additional signage.
“The lemonade stand was a great opportunity for our students to not only learn about how to tell a story through branding with the folks at CBX, but to also lend their voice to why 826NYC is so important,” noted Joshua Mandelbaum, executive director of 826NYC. “All of the participating students were regulars in our after-school program and it was inspiring to see them out in Flatiron Plaza boldly telling New Yorkers about their experience in our after-school program and workshops. It is no wonder that, with such enthusiastic promoters, we were able to raise close to $3,000 and had countless conversations about volunteering with folks from all over the city.”
826 founder Dave Eggers added: “As a project-based learning center, 826 has always tried to focus on making things whereby the students feel like their work has real-world application. So, over the years, the students at 826NYC have made incredible short films, written novels, produced radio shows and made hundreds of chapbooks. The lemonade stand project with CBX was right in keeping with this idea — how do you make writing feel electric and essential and how do you give students an authentic outside audience? This project works on so many levels. Having the students plan with the professionals at CBX, execute and then interact with the general public in Flatiron Plaza is an experience that will have a profound effect on these young people.”
“Our purpose in taking part in this project was to energize the young creative minds of 826NYC and to enable them to see that their imaginations can be realized in a meaningful and tangible way,” said Gregg S. Lipman, Managing Partner of the Manhattan-based CBX, which provides a variety of branding services to the organization on a pro-bono basis. “We wanted them to experience how gratifying it is to come up with an amazing idea and see it come to life. I’m proud that CBX was able to make a difference in these kids’ lives, and we will continue to work with the organization in the future. It was a unique and fulfilling experience for the entire CBX staff, and a cool reminder as to why we are in the creative business in the first place.”
Along with CBX, two New York City firms, Big Apple Visual Group and Suite Spot lent their services on a pro-bono basis. Big Apple Visual, which specializes in all types of architectural, way finding and retail signage, manufactured all of the components and built the lemonade stand. Suite Spot, a full-service video production company, created a video about the project that was shown at the lemonade stand and provided onsite filming for a video that will be used in the future by 826NYC.