Squeezing Lemons Turned Out to be More Fruitful than Imagined

beatrice wolnerman

Lemonade stands are practically a summer staple. For Eli and Beatrice Wolnerman, it’s a new business.

It all started in 2019 when Bea was perusing Zillow and discovered a small parcel of land for sale in downtown Detroit. “It was a weird triangle-shaped lot that had been on the market for months, positioned up a five-foot wall and covered in garbage and weeds,” she said.

Like most people, she was about to continue scrolling when she noticed one very important detail: It was located directly upon the Dequindre Cut, an urban pedestrian path that runs through the heart of the city, straight down to the iconic Detroit Riverwalk.

bea's squeeze lemonade stand

It’s a path that sees hundreds of thousands of visitors each summer and, said Bea, “is a two-mile stretch with nowhere to stop along the way.”

That is, until she and her husband bought it.

“For me, it was full of opportunity and simply begging for a fun, summer pop-up,” she said.

And so Bea’s Squeeze was born.

Positioned above the five-foot retaining wall and measuring a mere 600 square feet, the Wolnerman’s used this tiny patch of land to their advantage by creating a unique lemonade stand accessible via buckets and a pulley system to send the lemonade down to customers.

Needless to say, it got a huge response from the community.

three flavors of lemonade

It wasn’t just that their system was fun. The lemonade was good, made with natural ingredients free from artificial flavors or preservatives and what Bea describes as a clean crispness that transports you to your youth.

Flavors include Classic Lemonade, Pink Rose and Lavender, which are sold in local stores and online.

In a short period the brand has grown significantly. There’s a whole line of goods, including T-shirts, sweatshirts, a duffle bag, bucket hats and even a straw, in addition to Bea’s Detroit, an event space, cafe and co-working space which launched in March 2020.

And while the lemonade stand is only open during the summer, the lemonade company is now a full-blown business. In two years, the Wolnerman’s have partnered with the two largest national natural food distributors and now have their products in almost 1,000 stores in 25 states.

lavender lemonade

Plus you can always get a taste at Bea’s Detroit, which Bea said is a “highlight of all things Bea’s Squeeze lemonade.”

“We use our cafe as a testing ground to get real feedback on new lemonade flavors, trying out fun and interesting combinations before putting the new recipe into production,” she said.

And in the summer they also sell Bea’s Squeeze Freeze frozen lemonade slushies, rounding out their popular life of offerings.

AUTHOR

Elizabeth Hazard

Elizabeth Hazard is a writer, producer and photography editor. Her work has appeared in various publications and she writes frequently about art, culture, fashion and history.

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