WALDORF, Md.– At the “Charles County Matters Small Business Vendor Fair,” the Charles County Health Department closed Layla’s Lemonade Stand on June 5.

Layla’s Lemonade Stand is a lemonade stand owned and operated by a 7-year-old girl and her parents, who asked not to be named for privacy reasons. The business is a consistent vendor at local Charles County vendor fairs.

This lemonade stand has been a member of this event since the Charles County Matters Facebook Group admin Deron Tross started in June 2020. As expected, the health department inspects each vendor to make sure everything is up to code.

However, the event did not have its typical inspector, and it caused confusion between the event organizer, Deron Tross, and a vendor, Layla’s Lemonade Stand.

“Our food vendor this week did not show up because he had a family emergency,” Tross said. “I turned around and saw [the new inspector] at Layla’s Lemonade stand, and I could see they [the vendors] were upset. Then, the inspector told me that this young lady will have to close her stand.”

After speaking with the inspector, they informed Tross that the stand needed a health certificate if they wanted to continue to be a vendor at the event.

However, as an organizer of the event, Tross believes it is a bigger issue with the health department closing the lemonade stand at the event because of the health department’s inconsistency on these matters. Tross believes big retailers avoid Charles County because of these issues.

“There is no consistency. It appears from one inspector to another inspector there’s no consistency,” Tross said. “When you are a retailer or restaurant, you are looking for consistency from our health department.”

On the contrary, the owners of Layla’s Lemonade Stand felt they were ill-informed and took responsibility for the situation. They felt the inspector was very informative and easy to work with.

“She [the inspector] was very helpful. She was not aggressive or anything,” the family said. “As a result of that, we were like if we are wrong and were never made aware, we will calmly work with you.”

Since the event, the Charles County Health Department has worked closely with Layla’s Lemonade, so they can get the proper licenses to continue to attend vendor fairs.

“They have walked us through the paperwork we need. They have given us clarity on the exact documentation that we need to comply with because we did not know,” the family said. “We have done so many of these vendor events, and nobody has ever asked for paperwork.”

Luckily, Layla’s Lemonade has not missed a beat, and they will attend another vendor event later this month. Currently, they are working with the health department to have an application completed and approved.

“We are meeting with the health department to go line by line on the application to make sure we have everything correct, so they can approve us for the next event,” the family said. “We are not even stopping because of their [the health department] help.”

Although things are being worked out, Layla’s Lemonade will not return to the Charles County Matters vendor events. Layla’s Lemonade will be at the Youth’s Vendors’ Fair in Charles County on June 26.

You can find the business on Instagram and Facebook @laylaslemonadestand. Additionally, Charles County Matters is hosting another event on June 19 at the Waldorf Center.

To contact Tony and the rest of our news desk, email news@thebaynet.com