Lemonade? Lemonade anybody? It is a refreshing drink isn’t it? It’s a beverage that has brought Taste of Soul (TOS) vendor, Pucker Up Lemonade attention and success. Co-owners and couple, Karneisha Christian and Jon “Ken” Stewart share their story of how TOS helped put their business on the map.
Christian was born and raised in Compton, CA and is a mother of two. She previously worked as a pediatric nurse but always had strong entrepreneurial roots. Her grandmother was a sharecropper from Mississippi that came to California in search of “money growing on trees”. Both of her parents owned a local business. Stewart was born in Memphis, TN and raised in Carson, CA. He has served in the U.S. Navy and as a Federal Law Enforcement Officer.
So how did Pucker Up Lemonade come about? Well, according to Christian and Stewart, it started with an ice chest, an igloo, lemons from Stewart’s parent’s tree and Christian’s father’s recipe.
“We started at Optimal Christian Academy’s annual carnival in Compton in 2011,” said Christian. “The response was amazing!
“We sold out both Saturday and Sunday that weekend.”
In 2011, they began to see that beverage stations were trending in event spaces, so they launched Pucker Up Lemonade Company as a boutique beverage catering startup. Lemonade flavors you can find on the menu include: classic lemonade, strawberry, blue raspberry, mango and watermelon. They also added that they use agave nectar, sweetened varieties. At Vegan festivals, they sell flavors like tumeric ginger, kale cucumber, pomegranate acai and even activated charcoal infused Lemonade. They also have blended adult favorites such as the Blue Raspberry Mojito which is their blue raspberry lemonade, fresh mint leaves, limes finished with Malibu Rum.
“As the originators of the ‘All You Can Drink’ lemonade stand, our specialty is incorporating unique themed decor with our lemonade stands and beverage stations for private events such as birthday parties, weddings, baby showers, proms, and corporate events,” said Stewart.
“On a typical weekend, we service private events and vend at festivals from Compton to Conejo Valley, [from] Baldwin Hills to Bel Air,” said Christian. “We also service VIP tents for events such as the Carson Jazz Festival, Taste of Inglewood, Oxnard Jazz Festival, and for the 5th year at the [TOS].”
They have a favorite on the menu, a flavor that is sure to get most customers attention, which is “our peach cobbler flavored ‘Teamonade.’
“Our take on the infamous Arnold Palmer, definitely peaks our customer’s curiosities. It’s a blend of our peach lemonade, black tea and traditional spices found in peach cobbler.
“We introduced this at the Inglewood Earth Day Jazz Festival in April of this year to rave reviews.”
Pucker Up Lemonade has participated in the TOS since 2013 and they have had plenty experience in how to prepare for the largest family festival in Southern California.
“The anticipation of preparing to serve thousands of people requires careful planning and execution,” said Christian. “We are a family owned and operated business.
“Our multi-generational crew includes our kids, cousins, aunts, and friends. At TOS, due to the large crowds, we specialize in a ‘quick service’ approach, virtually a ‘walk thru Lemonade Stand’ where customers can line up, then sample and be served in under a minute.
“We love the responsiveness of the TOS attendees—praising our efforts as a Black-owned business and enjoying their first sip.”
Pucker Up Lemonade has garnered major social media presence with nearly 9k followers on Facebook and 5k on Instagram. They have serviced thousands of clients over the past 7 years and acquired a core group of supporters that come to events just to visit their stand.
“They often bring one of our souvenir cups for a refill,” said Stewart.
Christian and Stewart enjoy TOS and are looking forward to celebrating with the rest of the vendors and attendees on October 20.
Make sure you stop by their booth and get some citrus satisifaction! And, they also wanted to share some exciting news…
“After seven years in business and eagerly anticipating our 5th year at Taste of Soul, we are extremely blessed to be opening our first brick and mortar location in our hometown of Compton, CA,” said Christian. “We were blessed to take over a business location—at 723 East Compton Blvd, in the city of Compton.
“As one of the pillars of our mission is to support our community and youth, we will become a hub for fundraising efforts for local schools, youth groups, and non-profit organizations through our Pucker Up Profit Sharing Program,” said Stewart. “We will also maintain our commitment to employing and training disadvantaged youth and veterans.”
Find Pucker Up Lemonade on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can also visit their website at puckeruplemonadecompany.business.site or call (562) 507-8177.
For more information on Taste of Soul, please visit tasteofsoul.org
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