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Caption: Kelsi Goins, left, and her friend Elie Mae Fletcher, center, wait for customers at their lemonade stand in Harriman, Tenn., earlier this month. Kelsi's mother, Melissa Goins, right, supervises the operation.

Nothing says summer in the South like a child's lemonade stand. It's American entrepreneurship squeezed down to its essence.

Rarely, though, do kids turn much of a profit.

But don't tell that to Greg Goins and his 8-year-old daughter, Kelsi, who just made a one-day profit of more than $1,000 at a lemonade stand outside a Kroger store in Harriman, Tenn.

The father-daughter team raised the money to give to their favorite charity, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.

"I have a soft spot for kids," Greg Goins explained. "The Lord has blessed me with a healthy kid; why not help those who are sick?"

The Goinses live in Spring City, Tenn., and the idea for the lemonade stand was actually hatched last winter.

Greg, a city employee in Spring City, said he gives to St. Jude through monthly credit card deductions. He gets a newsletter that has a regular feature called "Patient Spotlight."

He shares the articles with Kelsi, who says she wanted to help St. Jude so they have more money for "food and medicine."

"I show Kelsi the pictures and explain to her that these children are not as fortunate as her," Greg says, "so be thankful for what she's got."

The Goinses built their lemonade stand out of reclaimed wood from old industrial pallets.

Dad did the cutting and fastening while Kelsi stood by and handed him the boards.

The construction came together the first week in June, and by June 10 the Goinses were ready to deploy the lemonade stand at the supermarket.

A couple of days before, a Kroger manager donated the lemons. Greg "cooked" his lemonade a day in advance so it would be chilled by time the Saturday sale rolled around.

"I had a lot of people tell me it was the best lemonade they ever had," he says.

Greg transported the disassembled lemonade stand in his truck and Kelsi mentally practiced her pitch: "Would you like to buy some lemonade to help the children at St. Jude?"

Also along for the day were Kelsi's mom, Melissa, and Kelsi's good friend Elie Mae Fletcher.

Greg noticed that when the girls took a lunch break during their seven-hour lemonade stand shift, sales plummeted.

"They were gone 30 minutes and I'll bet I didn't sell a single glass of lemonade," Greg says. "It takes those little ones asking."

Kelsi may, or may not, have thrown in a little sad face with her pitch.

At the end of the day, the Goinses counted $1,025 in donations, including a $100 bill from one man who turned down his cup of lemonade.

Word of their lemonade sale spread in the days after June 10, and more donations came in. In all, the effort netted $1,750. Not a bad return on 160 lemons and a day's work.

Now, the Goinses are thinking about doing the stand again in September. And they've got a holiday toy drive in the works, too.

It seems the Goinses have hit on a magic formula:

Squeeze, stir, repeat.

Contact Mark Kennedy at mkennedy@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6645.

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