12-Year-Old Starts His Own Business, Runs Into Some Trouble

| by Jonathan Wolfe

61-year-old Doug Wilkey of Dunedin, Florida is in the news today for all the wrong reasons. As the Tampa Bay Times reports, Wilkey is reportedly hell bent on shutting down his 12-year-old neighbor’s lemonade stand.

T.J. Guerrero, 12, has run a lemonade stand on a neighborhood sidewalk for years now. Most neighbors seem to love the endearing business venture -- some even offer their driveways as parking for Guerrero’s customers.

But then there is Doug Wilkey. Wilkey has reportedly emailed the city of Dunedin four times in the last two years complaining about T.J.’s lemonade stand. According to the Tampa Bay Times, he has called the police about it, too. Wilkey claims T.J. is running an “illegal business” that leads to a host of problems, including excessive traffic, noise, trash, and illegal parking. Together, Wilkey says, these issues hurt his property value.

T.J. denies Wilkey’s claims. The young man says no one parks in front of Wilkey’s house. As for the “excessive traffic” complaint, T.J. says his longest line ever was five customers long.

Wilkey also tried to convince city officials that the stand is a health risk. He wrote an email recently saying “The city could possibly face repercussion in the event someone became ill from spoiled/contaminated food or drink sales.”

The city has rejected all of Wilkey’s complaints thus far. Dunedin planning and development director Greg Rice says the city has no interest in shutting T.J. down.

"We're not in the business of trying to regulate kids like that; nor do we want to do any code enforcement like that," Rice told the Tampa Bay Times. "We are not out there trying to put lemonade stands out of business.”

T.J.’s neighbors seem to have his back, too.

"I had [a stand] when I was a little kid. We all did," said Vincent Titara. "I think it's cute."

Photo Credit: Screenshot