This lemonade business started as a stand. Now, they’re selling with a purpose in Tiger Stadium.
Leroy’s LipSmack’n Lemonade sells bottles in 36 local stores
AUG 4, 2022 - 10:00 AM
The past three years have been sweet for Leroy’s LipSmack’n Lemonade.
The business got its start in 2012 when Leroy Hayward III, then 6 years old, participated in Lemonade Day Louisiana, an annual event that teaches children to be entrepreneurs. Sherilyn and Leroy Hayward Jr., Leroy’s parents, had just found out he was autistic and wanted to find things their son could do. They decided to set up a lemonade stand in their front yard, let Leroy sell drinks and give some of the profits to his doctors at Children’s Hospital New Orleans.
“He loved the idea of handing out his lemonade,” Sherilyn Hayward said. “And then he really liked taking the money to the hospital. … It made him feel good about himself.”
After a few years of selling drinks out of tents at festivals and in front of stores, the Haywards started selling lemonade by the gallon three years ago. Leroy’s lemonade can now be found in 36 local stores, including Rouses, Tony’s Seafood, Hi Nabor, Calandro’s and Bet-R.
The business also has kiosks in Tiger Stadium, the Pete Maravich Assembly Center and Alex Box Stadium.
"I had Tiger Stadium on Leroy's vision board," Hayward said. "We were like, 'If we get in there, think of all the money we could give to the people at Children's Hospital.' So I sent an email out."
Hayward didn't have any contacts with LSU; she just sent an email to the concessions department. A few months later, she got a call from the concessions director, asking for a meeting.
"They asked us if we had a kiosk," she said. The Haywards dipped into Leroy's college fund to buy a kiosk. They've grown from one location in the stadium in 2017 to five.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the family started selling 16 ounce bottles of lemonade. “We had to stay afloat,” Hayward said. “Gallons are expensive, so we figured if we could do something inexpensive, people could get it and go all of the time.”
The family now sells about 300 gallons and 500 cases of lemonade a week. All of the drinks are made, bottled and stored in a small office off Industriplex Boulevard that’s decorated with pictures of Leroy and houses all kinds of items with lemon prints.
Leroy's lemonade is all natural, made with water, sugar and fresh-squeezed lemons. The quality of the drink, along with the business's purpose, is what has allowed it to grow. "We donate to Children's Hospital. We help children like Leroy with special needs," Hayward said. "Lemonade is the thing we are using to make this happen."
The business has grown from about $30,000 in revenue in 2019 to $213,000 in 2021, Hayward said. They're on track to do $660,000 this year. The business has grown from being staffed just by the family to 12 employees.
"We do a lot now trying to inspire parents with special-needs kids," Hayward said. "I do a lot of speaking to different organizations and tell a mom that has a special-needs child or a child on that autistic spectrum to never give up on them. I never would've dreamed I'd be doing that."
The success of the business has brought opportunities to the Haywards. The family was invited to participate in a small business pitch competition sponsored by the National Urban League. Hayward won the event last month and collected a $10,000 cash prize.
The plan is to use the money as a down payment on two refrigerated trucks. This will enable Leroy’s lemonade to be sold in New Orleans, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas. “We’ve already got some grocery stores that want it in those locations,” Hayward said. “Rouses has given us a list of some locations as well.”
That would enable the business to double the amount of lemonade it sells. Hayward said she hopes the expansion will happen early next year. Plans are also in the works to move Leroy's to a new location in north Baton Rouge.
Leroy has also been helped by the business. Hayward said he's now open to talking and interacting with people. One of the big moments was when he first went to see the kiosk in Tiger Stadium and had people approaching him.
"The crowd of people didn't treat him like he was different. I believe that's when it clicked in his mind that he said he was just like everybody else," she said. "The business has done wonders for Leroy, and if nothing else happened, that would be enough for me."
National Urban League Conference 2022
LOUISIANA'S OWN SHERILYN HAYWARD OF LEROY'S LIPSMACK'N LEMONADE WINS 1ST PLACE AT NATIONAL PITCH COMPETITION!
The Urban League of Louisiana is proud to announce that Sherilyn Hayward, Owner of Leroy's LipSmack'n Lemonade, emerged as the winner of the National Urban League's 2022 Small Business Matters Pitch Competition! The event will took place virtually on Saturday, July 23rd at 11:45am-1:15pm CST. The event was a part of the Small Business Matters segment of the National Urban League's 2022 Conference. The pitch competition was sponsored by Nationwide.
The competition featured 3 finalists from Urban League affiliates across the country:
UAVistas (Urban League of Greater Cleveland)
8Myes (Urban League of Philadelphia)
Leroy's Lipsmack'n Lemonade (Urban League of Louisiana)
Stefan James, AVP Marketing for Personal Lines Direct, Nationwide
Arian Simone, Co-Founder and General Partner, The Fearless Fund
Cy Richardson, Senior Vice President, Economics and Housing Programs, National Urban League
Marc Parham, Director, Entrepreneurship Center, Urban League of Greater Atlanta
Andrea & Frances Guichard, Owners, Gallery Guichard (Chicago) and Winners of the 2021 Pitch Competition
Host: Melissa Knowles, CNN News Correspondent
Each finalist presented their plans for growth and how they would use the funds if awarded. Awards were granted at 1st Place ($10,000), 2nd Place ($5,000), and 3rd Place ($2,500). All finalists were amazing and the decision did not come easy for the judges. In the end, Sherilyn Hayward of Leroy's LipSmack'n Lemonade emerged as the 1st Place winner, 8Myles in 2nd Place, and UAVistas in 3rd Place. Congratulations to each of the participants!
Sherilyn Hayward took home the 1st Place prize of $10,000 during the NUL 2022 Small Business Matters Pitch Competition.
Sherilyn is the Founder and Owner of Leroy’s LipSmack’n Lemonade, a lemonade beverage manufacturing company based in Baton Rouge, LA. The company is committed to suppling a clean, refreshing, freshly squeezed- thirst quenching experience for consumers across the country. Their products have no additives, no artificial flavors or colors.
The business was started in 2014 after participation in a local lemonade Day for her 6-year-old son, Leroy III. Leroy’s LipSmack'n Lemonade was created to help kids like Leroy with disabilities to understand that their special need is not a limitation, and that they can succeed at entrepreneurship and have more options. Leroy works in the business, and the company also hires special needs young adults.
Today, Leroy's LipSmack'n Lemonade can be found in 36 stores and restaurants in the Baton Rouge area including 4 Rouse's Markets and all LSU sports arenas. In addition, the Leroy's LipSmack'n Lemonade Truck can be found at local schools, businesses, and festivals year-round! Plans for expansion include offering products in other cities across Louisiana, and in Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas....just to start!
Sherilyn was nominated to apply for the 2022 NUL Small Business Matters Pitch Competition by the Urban League of Louisiana. Mrs. Hayward has been a client of the ULLA Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation since 2020. She is a graduate of the Scale Up! Louisiana Program and emerged as the winner of the 2021-22 ULLA Women-In-Business Challenge!
Baton Rouge Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce name Leroy Hayward as one of the 100 Most Influential Black Men in the Baton Rouge Capital Area!
This is such an honor to be the youngest on this list of Most Influential Black Men!!!
We take tremendous pride in being an influence in our community and continue to show special needs families how to never give up!!
We thank the @brmbcc for this recognition and all that you do for the city of Baton Rouge.
It’s time to #MeetTheOwner Leroy Hayward III, 14-year-old CEO & Co-Owner of Leroy's Lip Smack'n Lemonade, is dedicated to making a difference with his lemonade. Growing up, Leroy really did not really socialize with others. Battling a growth hormone deficiency and hearing loss in both ears, Leroy also had to deal with being treated differently as a special needs child.
In 2012, Leroy and his parents, Sherilyn Hayward & Leroy Hayward Jr., entered into Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers’s National Lemonade Day. They set up Leroy’s first lemonade stand in the front yard and Leroy immediately fell in love with the stand because he was able to sell his lemonade to others without any fear or worry of being treated differently.
His parents knew this was an opportunity they could not ignore and Leroy’s LipSmack’n Lemonade was born! This business is much more than just a lemonade stand—with every purchase, a Children’s Hospital patient’s life is improved through a donation. These donations to the Children’s Hospital is a way to not only support the future of other children in need but as a way to give back to the doctors who had done so much for Leroy.
Leroy LipSmack’n Lemonade has continued to grow each day. His lemonade is now being sold at all LSU sporting venues and can be found in various local stores and restaurants in the community such as Memphis Mac and Bet-R Grocery.
The best way to show support is by buying some lemonade! You can also purchase a t-shirt, make a donation, or simply share their story with your friends and family. You can also follow Leroy on Instagram @leroyslemonade and Facebook at Leroy's Lip Smack'n Lemonade.
"I'm a CHAMPION! I'm a LEADER!" - Leroy Hayward III
July 19, 2021
 Magazine: HOW A KID-RUN BUSINESS CAN MAKE ITS WAY TOWARD BECOMING A HOUSEHOLD BRAND
April 2, 2021
By Caroline Hebert
It’s run by 14-year-old Leroy Hayward III. Along with his parents Sherilyn Hayward and Leroy Hayward Jr., Leroy came up with the brilliant idea to participate in Lemonade Day Louisiana back in 2012. The event teaches kids entrepreneurial skills by running lemonade stands. For the Haywards, it was life-changing.
Ever since, Leroy’s eponymous lemonade business has prospered. His special take on lemonade is now bottled and sold in more than 10 locations across Baton Rouge, including groceries, restaurants and stands in Tiger Stadium. The Haywards are hoping to get into the local Whole Foods and a Mississippi-owned grocery store. Next: They plan to connect with businesses across the nation.
“We are going to make Leroy’s Lip Smack’n Lemonade a household brand,” Sherilyn says. “We want it sold in every local store across the country. And I say ‘local’ because we love supporting local.”
When the pandemic threw more challenges at businesses last year, the Haywards didn’t get discouraged. They got creative. They bought a truck, and the lemonade stand went mobile. It allowed them to keep sales contactless and safe, but it also opened doors to new opportunities and ideas, like selling smaller, individual-sized 16-ounce bottles.
The dream doesn’t stop there, though. The ultimate goal for Leroy’s Lip Smack’n Lemonade is to make it to the happiest place on earth.
“It belongs there in Disney World,” Sherilyn says. “It is a child business; why not be in a child’s place?”
Plus, being involved with brands focused on children allows the business to do what it was made to do: inspire. The lemonade business serves more than just a refreshing drink—it’s a wake-up call that there are opportunities for everyone to thrive.
Leroy has a growth hormone deficiency and hearing loss in both ears.
“We want our brand to be known for what we do: helping and inspiring special needs children like Leroy,” Sherilyn says.
The Haywards’ motto is “use your difference to make a difference,” and they hope to encourage other children to not see their differences as setbacks.
The lemonade business, after all, has made a difference in Leroy himself. Before, he was more reserved and did not enjoy being around people. Now, he loves interacting with customers. He knows every location his lemonade is sold from and often even rolls the lemonade into the store himself. He’s truly found his niche.
“I am a champion. I’m a leader,” Leroy often says.
His mom adds, “The business has helped Leroy more than it has helped anyone else. It’s gotten him out of his shell.” leroyslipsmacknlemonade.com
More than a lemonade stand
What can other kids learn from Lemonade Day Louisiana? The event that inspired Leroy III to open his business was started by John Georges and Todd Graves. They recall learning about entrepreneurship running lemonade stands as kids. According to the event’s website, kids who open a lemonade stand on Lemonade Day will learn:
Supply and demand, plus all those other complicated key terms from college econ classes.
College and career readiness
Teamwork, customer service, branding, and other traits they’ll want for their resumes.
Time management, leadership and goal setting—running a stand will have them thinking about their long-term futures.
Reading, math, writing—selling lemonade will sharpen the skills they’re practicing at school.
This article was originally published in the April 2021 issue of 225 magazine. View it here.