Izzy's Lemon Aid was started by Isabella and her dad to help people who could use a hand. Three years later they are a growing company and charitable power in Kalamazoo.

Photo: Bobby Guy

When you buy a glass of Izzy's lemonade, you're not just quenching your thirst, you're feeding the hungry, clothing the needy, restoring dignity and helping any number of charitable causes- that's why it's spelled "Lemon Aid." Izzy didn't go into business to get rich, she wanted to help people.

We take the money that we get from selling lemonade and give it to different charities

In 2014, when she was just 6, Isabella talked her dad into helping her set up a lemonade stand. "We take the money that we get from selling lemonade and give it to different charities." A banker friend offered them space in the lobby during a customer appreciation event and they raised a few hundred dollars for the Cuff & Ladder Fund in just a couple of hours. That wasn't enough for Izzy. Things grew quickly from there with the pair setting up shop in mom's kitchen, It didn't take long before the house looked a bit like a microbrewery with tubs and tubes and a custom pneumatic powered citrus crusher that applies 250 pounds of force to the lemons. "We couldn't eat at the dining room table for months," the family told me in an exclusive interview.

This was not a school project and this is not a kids lemonade stand, these are the 32 oz. lemon shake-ups like you get at the fair and the family travels all over this side of Michigan selling their creations. The Grimes family never forgets about the mission and the idea of helping others. I asked Isabella what her favorite thing is about operating a business like this:

I like the fact that I can help people. That's the reason we're doing it.

In 2016, Izzy's Lemon Aid raised enough money to fly 3 veterans to Washington D.C. with Talons Out Honor Flight. This year, Izzy wants to send 10 soldiers to the Capital. A recent GoFundMe success has enabled the family to purchase a trailer to upgrade their operations, get to more areas and, in turn, help more people. So the next time you are at that fair, festival or Summer event, look for Izzy's Lemon Aid, quench your thirst and help those in need all at once.

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