BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A young man is working on his Louisiana legacy one lemon at a time.
Leroy Hayward III. That name alone sounds like someone important, a real mover and shaker, or in this case, a doer and a squeezer. He’s the CEO of Leroy’s Lip Smack’n Lemonade.
“And when you ask for it, wherever you asked for and you have to say, 'I’d like to have Leroy’s Lip Smack’n Lemonade,” said Sherilyn Hayward, Leroy’s mother.
Leroy’s mom and dad help him out with the business, and he has been busy recently. His Lip Smack’n Lemonade has grown from one stand at Tiger Stadium to four and a stand at Alex Box, and another at Tiger Park, as well as one at the PMAC. Customers can now also get the delicious lemonade at both Calandro’s locations. It’s also available at Southside Produce and Fresh Bowls.
“They were the first restaurant that asked us to bring the lemonade to them, so we’re getting around, we’re growing,” Sherilyn said.
Leroy’s squeezin’ for a reason is paying off.
“This business has really brought Leroy out. Leroy, because he has hearing loss, and he is of course on the autistic spectrum, he was really sheltered and didn’t really want to engage with people, but because of this lemonade business, Leroy now engages with people. He loves to say ‘thank you’ and ‘you’re welcome’ and give people his lemonade,” Sherilyn said.
Leroy now makes his lemonade at the LSU Food Incubator.
Leroy learned his lemonade lesson from Lemonade Day, which is a day held to teach kids the importance of giving back in business. In fact, the Entrepreneur of the Year donates a part of his lemonade sales.
“And this is going to be Leroy’s legacy. Leroy loves taking his donation to children’s hospital, so we really like that. He’s learning how to give," said Sherilyn. “We want other families to know, please never give up on your children. You know, a child with autism or with a special need, they just need a little more help. They just need a few more tools in the toolbox than a regular child, but never give up on them. They have dreams just like everyone else and you just have to get behind them and push them.”
So what’s next for Leroy’s Lip Smack’n Lemonade? The company is looking to put its lemonade in 16 oz bottles and get it on even more shelves.