Caden Kirks is not your average 10-year-old.
Sure, the Moab boy likes to play soccer and tell his own jokes. He also dreams of one day being an Olympic snowboarder.
But this kid’s ambitions go beyond even that.
A two-time science fair winner at Helen M. Knight Elementary School, Caden wants to simply: “Be a trillionaire.”
He just might do it, too.
On Wednesday, he opened his own business. With the help and support of his parents, Jason and Kim Kirks, Caden is running CK Desert Ice, a shaved ice shack at 95 N. Main St.
C stands for Caden, of course, and K for little-sister Kierra, 7.
The bulk of the proceeds will go to the kids’ college funds. At least 1 percent will go back to the community as a donation to a nonprofit.
“(Caden) is so motivated and so driven,” Kim Kirks said. “Our intent was to help start a business we could do as a family. We thought, ‘How can we do something that would help him as an entrepreneur?’”
Caden started selling lemonade at 5 years old.
But his was no garage-sale, 45-minutes-later-he’s-bored, typical kid thing.
No, Caden was committed. And gung ho.
If his mom had let him, he would have spent all day manning that table, hawking that lemonade.
He decided on lemonade initially for the summer drink’s simplicity, he said. People like it, it’s easy to make and it keeps his costs down.
In his driveway, at 25 cents a cup, he made about $5 his first time. Not bad for a 5-year-old, right?
But just wait.
Caden figures he had three or four other lemonade stands that summer, with the help of his friend, “Joshy.”
When the Kirks moved from Stansbury Park to Midway, though, Caden took it up a notch.
He set up his stand near the family’s home, which was only a block off Main Street. Two to three gallons of lemonade would get him $30, he said.
One day, he made $59. (He likes to give his customers options. He sold lemonade in different-sized cups – for different prices, of course. A small was a quarter, a medium was 50 cents and a large was 75 cents).
Mom says half his proceeds was sales, and the other was tips.
“Caden is just so good with people,” Kim Kirks said. “He puts himself out there.”
The family moved to Moab in February 2011. Last summer, Caden set up shop.
“In 2011, it was amazing,” Caden said. “On Thursdays and Wednesdays, I normally got $30. On Fridays and Saturdays, I can make $47 – on two or three gallons of lemonade!”
Kim finally bought her son a two- or three-gallon container for his lemonade last summer. Before that, he’d run inside to ask her to make another small pitcher every time he ran out.
“He’s so motivated,” Kim Kirks said. “He’ll be out there for like five hours.”
But now, he’s moving beyond lemonade, (though the family is considering letting Caden sell lemonade from the shaved ice shack as well).
Kim Kirks even quit her job as K-3 receptionist at HMK Elementary to help her son run the business.
“You can’t half commit to being a parent,” she said. “We really want to do everything we can to support him. It’s really inspiring to be part of that creative energy and drive. I’m in awe.”
CK Desert Ice has a long list of flavors (banana, bubble gum, cotton candy, green tea, mai tai, vanilla, wedding cake, etc.) and toppings (cream, sprinkles and Ghiardelli chocolate, among others). Customers get three flavors free, Caden explains, and can pay 50 cents for extras.
He likes them all.
The family spent last weekend finalizing plans and painting the shack The colors: “crush red” and … “millionaire green.”
His mom doesn’t doubt one day he will see his dreams to fruition.
“Anything this guy has wanted to do, he’s done,” Kim Kirks said. “I am one of his biggest fans. He’s inspiring to me.”