Pearl DiMassa readies her stand to sell here award-winning lemonade. Photo provided by the Lomita Chamber of Commerce.

For any business to make the leap from street corner to mass market, it takes a unique value proposition, potential for scalability and profitability. Cultivating that mindset is the goal of Lemonade Day—a national event that the City of Lomita and the Lomita Chamber of Commerce have partnered to host on a local level for the past three years. It offers a free, experiential learning program that teaches youth how to start, own and operate their own business: a lemonade stand.

“It’s great to see how much the kids learn in the Lemonade Day program and how seriously they take their new business,” says Barry Waite, Lomita City Council member and South Bay Cities Council of Governments (SBCCOG) board member. “Even as they are selling on the day, they are planning for next year with new flavors, a new design and how to reach more customers. The fact that they make a good chunk of money is icing on the cake.”

Through the program, each registered child receives access to curriculum and training conducted by Lomita’s elected leaders, the city manager and other city staff. It includes lessons on creating budgets, setting profit-making goals, serving customers, repaying investors and giving back to the community.

In 2022, Pearl DiMassa, now age 12, won first place among 53 other contestants. She went on to become first runner-up at the event’s national level that same year. Her stand, named Lucky Lemonade, stood out for its “chef-crafted blends,” which include juice from farmed-picked lemons, infused with natural blends of watermelon-mint, boysenberry and blackberry-acai.
During the program, she and the other contestants applied for business loans from sponsor South Bay Credit Union, received help from Ace Hardware and Lowe’s to construct their stands using recycled wood and paint, and were evaluated by a Los Angeles County Health Department inspector. They also learned about marketing tools, such as setting up social media accounts and creating flyers and other materials.

But DiMassa didn’t stop there. She expanded her business to include themed merchandise such as Honey Lemon Lip Balm, T-shirts, Honey Lemon Lavender Goat Milk Soap and more through her website Through her efforts she has earned close to $3,000, of which she donates 10% to Harbor Pregnancy Help Center. She is saving the rest for college and a car.

“Pearl was already confident, but now I think she feels she can take on the world,” says Pearl’s mother, Drea DiMassa, crediting the program.

Her confidence is infused with a dose of humility as she recites her biggest takeaway: “Victory loves preparation.” She elaborates, “When you’re prepared, it sets you up to win. Not always—but most of the time, that’s the case.” In 2023, Pearl returned to the event as a mentor to share her lessons with others. •

To learn more about the event and how to become involved, visit