The Richardson family of Hope Mills operates R Sweet Life lemonade and cookie stand at Cumberland and Hope Mills roads.
Under a pink tent in a parking lot along Cumberland Road recently, R Sweet Life was open for business.
Stefanie Richardson watched as her daughters — Destinee, 10; Amiah, 9; and Mariah, 8 — and son, Steffon, 3, set up a table loaded with cookies, candy apples, lemonade and iced tea.
As cars pulled into the parking lot, the children approached the customers and took their orders. On a scorching hot morning, the homemade lemonade was especially popular.
For the past several weeks, the Richardson family has been doing a brisk business at their R Sweet Life stand. The children are learning responsibility and making a little money in the process.
“We meet a lot of fun people,” Stefanie Richardson said. “It’s helping with their social skills. It’s really fun.”
Richardson said the family, who live in Hope Mills, talked about starting a cookie and lemonade stand last year, but nothing came of it.
This summer, the children decided they really wanted to start the venture. And so R Sweet Life was born. The business has Facebook and Instagram pages.
Generally, the family sets up from about 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays outside a day care center run by Richardson’s aunt at 3377 Cumberland Road. On Saturdays, they set up outside a barbershop run by Richardson’s uncle at 2417 Hope Mills Road.
From there, they sell their wares, all of it homemade. The children’s father, Geymayle; also helps with the preparation. Everything sells for $2 each.
Stefanie Richardson said the children came up with the recipes by watching YouTube videos. Even 3-year-old Steffon helps — he’s the “cookie man.”
The children say they are enjoying the business. Their goal, they say, is to open a food truck selling “carnival-type” foods — cotton candy, candy apples and the like.
Destinee said the customers seem to appreciate the stand, especially on hot summer days.
“They say, ‘We saw some beautiful little girls and we just had to stop,’ ” Destinee said.
Amiah said she gets a lot of compliments for the treats R Sweet Life sells.
“Some people say that the food is delicious, the lemonade is delicious,” Amiah said.
Mariah is the “salesperson” of the family, her mother said. She’s usually the one to deal with customers and she also makes the customized water bottles that are for sale.
“(The customers) say, ‘Can I have a customized bottle? Can I have some cookies? Can I have some lemonade or iced tea? Can I have a candy apple?’” Mariah said.
On a recent morning, motorists pulled off the busy road to sample the wares.
“I pass here all the time and say I’m going to stop,” said Tracey Wilson, who bought a candy apple and lemonade. “This time, I said, ‘Let me turn around now.’”
Stefanie Richardson said along with providing a fun summer activity, R Sweet Life is teaching her children some important skills.
“They’ve opened a savings account,” she said. “They get to see their money grow, and I think that’s very exciting.”
Staff writer Rodger Mullen can be reached at [email protected] or 910-486-3561.