A budding entrepreneur by age 8, Nelson McConnell, now at the age of 11, is a seasoned veteran and the proud owner of Nelson’s Flavorades! Local and national leaders, area businesses and thirsty customers alike have recognized his ambition, work ethic and innovation. His company provides specialty mixed lemonades and iced teas with an endearing slogan of “We got the flava!!” His products have previously been sold in Hy-Vee and at local popup markets around the metro.
The business blossomed when his mother (Adorian Lewis) was planning an annual flea market at the Kansas City Community Church in Kansas City, Kansas. Nelson commented, “I wanted to participate like everyone else. I saw an opportunity to make some money and the thought of selling lemonade came to me. It was going to be outside and it would be hot. Who wouldn’t want a refreshing cold drink?”
Eventually, Nelson expanded to bottling 16 and 32 ounce drinks, selling to local customers during area pop-up markets, and even gaining the attention of a local grocer. With unique flavors like watermelon, pineapple and strawberry, customers can’t help but try them all.
Proudly proclaiming he is a fourth generation mixologist, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as his great-grandmother, grandmother and mother all have shared his love for creating different and flavorsome drinks. Nelson’s affinity for knowing a tasty beverage when he tries it comes naturally!
The beverages and Nelson’s impressive entrepreneurial skills and spirit have made people take notice! He received a certificate of membership from The Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce, and is now the youngest member to be a part of the organization. Kansas Governor, Laura Kelly, also honored Nelson for his hard work by presenting him with the State’s young entrepreneur award last year.
Despite his natural talent, Nelson notes owning and running a business, especially at such a young age, isn’t for the faint of heart. “I’ve learned it is hard work! Sometimes you don’t feel like working but you have to push through it. If you want something bad enough you have to take the good with the bad. You can be successful if you have a plan and work toward your goals.”
He credits support from family, friends and his community for helping him push through obstacles when faced with tough decisions and hardships. Nelson advises other kids who may want to follow in his footsteps to “do the work, even when you don’t feel like it. Listen to your parents and the people who want to help you.”
When asked of his future plans for Nelson’s Flavorades, he envisions a mobile unit as well as a brick and mortar location or warehouse that would enable mass production of the beverages. His ultimate goal is to be a staple on store shelves.
Don’t worry, Nelson isn’t all business! In his spare time, he loves playing football and video games, much like most boys his age. He also loves eating good food. Same, Nelson, same! Perhaps washing it down with a refreshing lemonade?
Thanks Nelson, for being an inspiration for children and adults, and showing us the world is in good hands when kids like you are paving the way!
This post is sponsored by Mazuma Credit Union. Mazuma Credit Union is a local, not for profit financial institution committed to serving the Kansas City metro area since 1948. Passionate about supporting and giving back to our community, we strive to serve our Members, local small businesses, and non profit organizations through our products and services provided in our 10 area branches and beyond.