> Honeystand June 13 2012

My daughter, who is 7 years old, is a little entrepreneur.

School's out, and she's selling our raw honey by the road, lemonade-stand style, with her trusted customers putting their money in a metal coffee can marked "honey money."

She would love to sit by the stand all day, with her German shepherddog at her side, I've insisted this would be too much for the poor dog, so we rely on honesty.

This honeystand is where we re-use our glass jars — some of them a little scratched — and sometimes you may find a selection of sizes to choose from, all for a flat rate. This near-wholesale price is available only at our TruBee Honey "outlet" and only because we want Lillian to learn the value of hard work and the reward of earning money.

The scene is this:  a rolling country highway — a nice, scenic road that's become a bit of a byway. During weekdays, TN 252 is a secret corridor between Murfreesboro and Cool Springs. On the weekends, it's a delightful, curvy ride for cyclists and bikers, with many of the latter on their way to Arrington Vineyards, only two miles away.

This honeystand is an experiment in trust, human nature and marketing — or lack of. We haven't done anything to promote Lillian's honeystand, but when she pulls her red wagon with wood panels out to the road, counts her inventory and arranges the jars, she often has customers pulling in the driveway immediately.

Our country neighbors, folks who have lived here all their lives, are curious. "You ever been ripped off?" they ask in subdued voices. (Our secret's safe with them.)

"No," we say, "but sometimes people leave extra."

That's the truth. We've had an extra dollar here and there, a few IOUs on business cards (which were fulfilled in two or three days) and even a few people have left small stuffed animals for the owner of the honeystand. (Anyone with a little girl knows how these go over.)

If you find yourself in Middle Tennessee, meandering along Wilson Pike (TN 252), then you're welcome to look for the honeystand. It's open on sunny days only, most of the time, because 7-year-old girls are creatures of whimsy and because Lillian doesn't want her chalkboard signs to get wet. Usually the honey is in a red Radio Flyer wagon, and sometimes it's accompanied by Jeff's old Ford 8N tractor (not for sale, boys, not for sale).

Lillian also accepts empty glass jar returns here. Just put them in the grass next to the wagon, and we will sterilize and re-use.

Also, Lillian has expanded her inventory this year. She thinks kids really like honey straws, since she does, so she makes bundles of five straws and sells them for $1 a bundle. Jeff and I think this is an awesome energy burst for all the cyclists we see pedaling up and down the road, but her target market is other kids.

This is her thing, and we're proud that she's thought of a way to reach new customers. So far, she's sold only four bundles.

But you've gotta start somewhere.