One family got creative about their cookie sales. Instead of going door-to-door to elicit sales from their neighbors, they let the customers come to them by setting up a “cookie stand” in their front yard. For six years, the girls did a booming business in girl scout cookies.
Then a neighbor complained about the traffic their cookie enterprise brought to the block. The city shut down their operation for violating zoning laws. Now the girls are suing for the right to sell their cookies.
The NYT talked to both parties about this, and amazingly both sides seem pretty reasonable. I bet that however the lawsuit settles, they’ll all live happily ever after.
What’s not clear is who’s right in this altercation. On the one hand, the city’s zoning laws seem pretty clear: you can’t operate a business in a residential area. As the city attorney told the NYT:
I’m not sure how much you know about zoning, but one of the principles is you live over there, you work over there, you shop over there. Not never the twain shall meet, but those are the general limitations. The prohibition against conducting sales in residential areas is to protect the peace and repose of residential neighborhoods.
On the other hand, people sell stuff out of their driveways all the time: lemonade, used bicycles, record collections. I’ve never heard of anyone needing a business license to hold a yard sale. And that’s basically what these girls were doing: holding a yard sale. A three-week-long yard sale. Made of cookies.
What do you think? Were these young entrepreneurs breaking the law, or is the city overreacting?
Check out these 20 Young Entrepreneurs, who kept inspiring focus at any cost!