Life after startup – business focus wisdom from the lemon stand man

Enzo rocking a happy shirt at his lemon stand

Wisdom from the lemon stand man

One of the most charismatic people I met is probably Enzo “la bomba”. Professional lemon juice maker.

Enzo and his tiny lemon juice stand are from Sant’Angelo, a small village in the Italian island of Ischia.

The local islanders also call Enzo “la Bomba” because his drinks are a bomb of vitamins and also because he is a bomb of energy.

Every year he is always there, ready with a joke and to make you a truly delicious cocktail of freshly squeezed lemons, oranges and some lemon granita.

Even though I have seen him tell the same joke a hundred times to others, it still feels like the first time every time because of his never ending optimism and energy which is just so befitting his bright yellow lemon stand.

Here is Enzo in all his glory

While we are standing in line to grab our almost daily glass of fresh juice, my mom (also an entrepreneur) looks at all the lemon and orange peels that are left over and asks him:

“Why don’t you turn the leftover lemon and orange peels into these delicious chocolate and sugar covered treats that are so typical in this region, and sell them?”

The lemon stand man’s big white beard curls up and he quickly answers:

“If we would do that we would go bankrupt!”

My mom is puzzled and asks him what he means. What could be wrong with upselling a drink with a snack?

“If I start doing that I have to hire a separate staff member, my small business would lose focus, and that would put a strain on my small business stand. Believe me, we tried.”

His business has been around for 70 years and started when his parents opened the lemon juice stand at the only entrance toward the small but always popular village of Sant’Angelo and right next to the bus stop.

It is also the only small spot with some shade on very hot days, so people just gravitate towards that space for some much needed refreshment.

In a moment like that they want fresh juice, not melted chocolate.

This man and his business have achieved something which is incredibly hard to achieve, a future proof business with a healthy focus.

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