Saturday mornings at Maddie’s Books and Treasures on St. Peter Street can be a little frenetic.
The used book shop plays host to a variety of audiences, from adult readers and model builders to children enjoying the playroom on one side of the store.
But every other Saturday it’s a little different. That’s when Nate’s Lemonade Stand is set up to raise money for its owner/operator, Nathan Viator. The 7-year-old proprietor has been operating lemonade stands for the last three years to raise money for his various philanthropic efforts.
“He’s raised about $400 so far,” said his mother, Bray Lynn Viator, who also works at the bookstore. “He calls bingo at a local retirement home and uses the money to buy prizes for the winners.”
According to his mom, though, Nathan is looking to branch out.
“He wanted to do something for the kids,” she said. “So he is raising money for a Halloween party, for all the snacks and the gift bags for the kids who show up.”
The party also will feature cupcake decorating, activities and, of course, bingo.
Nathan began selling lemonade after hearing about the Lemonade Day effort that Raising Cane’s restaurant sponsored. From there, he started to sell lemonade more often from the front of his family’s home on Iberia Street before relocating to Maddie’s.
“He was doing it every weekend,” his mother said.
“I like to give out prizes at the bingo,” he said. “I like rolling the cart out and letting them pick their prizes.”
A second grader at Center Street Elementary, Nathan also is planning to throw a Christmas party for his peers, complete with gifts and games.
“It’s great for the parents,” Bray Lynn said. “It’s free, so they get to have a great time and just have fun.”
She has made sure Nathan is involved in every aspect of the business. She said he basically does his own books, figuring out how much was spent on supplies, how much goes to prizes and materials for parties and bingo, and how much goes into savings for future events.
“He tried to put his birthday money in there to use for the bingo,” Bray Lynn said. “I had to tell him he couldn’t do that, that he needed to spend some on himself.”
When he is working the stand, Nathan is all business. He carefully lines up the cups and pours for his customers, letting them choose from strawberry, regular or cherry lemonade.
Some customers even like to be a little daring, mixing the flavors for a half-and-half experience.
Overall Saturday was a success. In addition to his sales, Nathan also received a donation of $100 from a generous customer.
That’ll go a long way toward making sure the Halloween party is a success.
“He just really likes doing it so he can give back to others,” said his mother.