Ches and I have worked together in a variety of ways for the past 37 years. We met in the kitchen at KFC in 1982 and have embarked on several entrepreneurial projects since then. From a food truck-complete with a blaring horn to announce our arrival, (food trucks have come a long way since the 80’s,) to flipping houses, before Chip and Joanna were a thing. Eventually, we ended up here with a grown up lemonade stand.
After moving to Colorado Springs in 2013, we were determined to find something new and different commemorating the beginning of a new season in our lives. Our “grown up” jobs that we moved away from were great at the time but now we needed to put our heads together and create something that embodied our visionary and enterprising spirits. We found ourselves in a vibrant community that encouraged creativity as well as a strong focus on small business. We also discovered this community fostered our desire to embody a whole, healthy & happy life. Overall, after raising three daughters and 30 years of adventures together, we had definitely learned not to take ourselves too seriously.
While Ches continued his business of remodeling and construction, I began the hunt for something new. Between pursuing Pinterest for wedding ideas for our youngest daughter and visiting the multiple farmers markets and festivals that abound, I noticed a lack of healthy drink options. While plastic cups with plastic straws, sugary ingredients and dollops of whipped cream were easy to spot, I discovered a need for something more. Something with ingredients that were whole ingredients, healthy for the environment and made me happy to drink.
With the acceptance into a couple of small farmer’s markets, I gathered a few mason jars, some reusable and super cute lids, and some brightly colored, biodegradable paper straws. Logical as I am, I’m still a sucker for some great packaging! That first market I pulled up with an old table, borrowed table cloth, and a daughter that must have been bored or worried for my future. Starting a lemonade stand when you’re approaching 50 is not the strategy to which most business women aspire. But together we sold 24 lemonades with homemade strawberry or lavender syrup and I knew we were on to something!
As the summer progressed we’d refined our mission. Homemade and organic lemonade. Handcrafted and creative syrups. Functional and reusable packaging. Our business was set and we’d already garnished a following!! As time progressed, my encouraging but financially strapped daughter got a real job-one that actually paid her money. That meant I had to recruit Ches in for help at our busier markets. What started as a bit of an attitude for him as he was hauling gallons of ice and lemonade through a muddy park, quickly led to a spark of enthusiasm as he saw how many people brought their mason jars back for refills-and brought their friends to introduce them to our drinks. He then used his mad construction skills to build me a fancy lemonade stand-complete with a picket fence and L*E*M*O*N*A*D*E draped across the front. He also used his mad selling skills to bump us to the next level. Before I knew it we were entering larger and larger events and buying more and more cases of mason jars. We were legit lemonistas!
Fast forward a couple of years of establishing our brand and refining our products and mission, Ches & I opened Pikes Peak Lemonade. The first lemonade taproom in the nation. While continuing the mission of whole.healthy.happy, we also incorporated #happypeopledrinklemonade into our little shop. Three years later, we save over 65,000 plastic cups and plastic straws each year in our little shop, while providing about 15 handcrafted syrups using whole or organic ingredients. We strive to use local products as often as we can-our signature and most popular lemonade flavor is our organic lavender lemonade incorporating fresh lavender from Palisade, Colorado. We also have concentrates that you can use to make our drinks at home. Our latest addition is our PPL HARD LINE. The PPL HARD LINE blends organic and local products like Strawberry Rhubarb Lemon Drop and Jalapeno Hibiscus Margarita Mix. And, while a lot of drink mixes add artificial colors and high fructose corn syrup, you won’t find any in ours!
We’d love to have you visit our location downtown in Colorado Springs and enjoy some of our sparkling lemonade on tap. You can also find our products in several locations across Colorado as well as on our website at www.pikespeaklemonade.com