Autistic Child Kent Melville Creates Soda Business

Kent Melville, an autistic nine-year-old from St. Johnsbury, England, created Kent's Sodas, which helps support programs for other autistic children.

Kent Melville, the individual behind the booming business Kent’s Sodas, is an unlikely entrepreneur. For one thing, he’s just nine years old. For another, he’s autistic.

Kent came across the idea for his soda business last summer, after running a very successful lemonade stand at his home in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. He’d saved the proceeds from his stand, and when his parents asked him how he’d like to use them, he said that he wanted to start a new business selling sodas—and would use his profits to help other children with autism by giving a portion of proceeds to a local social club for children with autism.

Kent’s parents took his idea seriously and helped him make his business idea a reality. His father, Aaron Melville, teaches business classes at a local college. He brought his son in to class to give a presentation on his soda idea, and the students provided feedback and sample business plans for Kent. After Kent had finalized his plan, his father brought him to a business incubator project at the college, where faculty members and students helped with graphic design for the soda bottles’ labels. Kent chose the flavors—lemonade, orange, raspberry-lime, root beer, cream soda, and grape—and chose a bottler. Before long, Kent’s Sodas was in business.

Kent now sells his sodas at a stand near his house, as well as a nearby restaurant and a local farm. He also brought his beverages to a new audience at the 2011 St. Johnsbury World Maple Festival recently.

Next, Kent plans to develop unique flavors for the more adventurous drinkers. First on his list? Root beer mixed with orange.

“I tried it,” he told the Caledonian Record. “It was delicious.”

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