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Gurlie’s Lemonade and Sweets: Local food sensation with a message

Published: Jul. 20, 2020 at 8:44 AM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Last summer, Gurlie’s Lemonade and Sweets was born. The owners originally started a simple stand setup to make a couple of dollars, but after one of the young entrepreneurs suffered heat stroke recently, the community helped chip in to give the business an upgrade.

As a result, the owners have turned into a social media sensation.

Not only is their food sweet, but the message these entrepreneurs strive to share is also.

When you walk up to the little white food truck off Magnolia Drive, you are greeted with a masked smile and friendly hello.

“Welcome to the Southside, welcome to our little Oreo stand,” Demetrius Murray said.

Murray and his business partner, Marquis Williams, spent the summer of 2019 looking high and low for a job. With no luck, they needed a game plan, and quick. That is when the duo decided to sell something close to home: Grandma’s lemonade.

Murray says the recipe, came straight from her cookbook.

“If anything, we were looking to make a couple dollars and make it through the day,” he said.

But the ‘1-800 Hustlers’, the name they attribute to themselves, did not stop there. This year, they decided to give fried Oreos a shot. When they took on the venture, Murray says he did not expect the increased foot traffic they received.

“This is not something we have some Harvard business strategy, you know like, ‘This is how its going to work, this is how it is going to work strategically.' We were just trying something and I guessed it worked,” Murray says.

It worked so well that they made it on a Facebook group called ‘Tallahassee Foodies', which has more than 20,000 followers. The first post came around June 20, and from there it took off. Murray says the love, food pictures and encouragement poured through.

“Thank God for the community, you know, thank God for people. Even in a time like this to see that people still care, it shined a light on humanity,” Murray says.

The duo has worked through a wooden stand, which had little to no air conditioning. Murray suffered heat exhaustion on July 11. Prior to that, the community had created a GoFundMe page, and raised more than triple the original goal. The funds were collected over four days, concluding the Sunday after Murray’s heat stroke. The funds provided a food truck for Gurlie’s Lemonade and Sweets, along with other gadgets and gizmos.

“How does it make feel?” asks Murray, “Extremely blessed, more than we deserve.”

Through every delicious treat, including their fan favorite of fried Oreos, they hope to serve as an example of what entrepreneurs can provide.

“There is much more than a stereotype over here, way much more than that. There is great people, great property great kids to invest in.” Williams shared emotionally as he patted Murray on the shoulder. “You just don’t really expect this to happen.”

The question is, what was the key to their success? Maybe it was the mouthwatering goodies. Or the hard work, positive attitude and go-getter mentality that the pair share. But one thing is for sure: this is only the beginning for Gurlie’s Lemonade and Sweets.

“Does it ever end?” asks Murray, “Is there ever an ending to the beginning? I guess we just take it one level at a time.”

In the near future, the business owners hope to open their own store and provide a dining area for customers.

Gurlies’ Lemonade and Sweets is open Monday through Saturday off of 100 E Magnolia Drive.

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