One year ago, Gurlie’s lemonade started with a table, two lemonade containers and two brothers who were eager to make their business successful at the corner of Tharpe Street and Old Bainbridge Road.
Now, Gurlie’s lemonade is on South Adams Street across from the Palmetto North dorms making an impact in the community while selling their famous lemonade and fried Oreos.
The two owners of Gurlie’s Lemonade & Sweets, Demetrius Murray and Marquis Williams, needed a job when they found their grandma’s recipe book filled with formulas for lemonade and sweets. They didn’t have any clue where the business would take them. They trusted in the path God was taking them on and proceeded to work hard.
Their dedication paid off as they were supported by members of the Facebook group, Tallahassee Foodies, which allowed them to get a truck to sell their lemonade and sweets.
Murray is proud of the story behind Gurlie’s Lemonade & Sweets.
“The story behind the business is when our grandmother passed she left us a recipe book, and she willed us this recipe book. Like most grandma’s she was famous to us, and she never allowed anybody in the kitchen to see what she was doing,” Murray said.
“When she passed, we had this recipe book.
“We didn’t think anything of it at the time, but last year we were in a jam in need of finding a job. According to America, we are criminals, so we have a record which makes it hard to get work at other institutions. So, just looking through our closet one day trying to find something to sell so we could take it to the pawnshop to get money to do something. Although we had an idea at the time, we only had $300 in our pockets that day we decided to start Gurlie’s Lemonade & Sweets,” he added. “We had some ideas, but we needed a few extra dollars.”
Gurlie’s made $75 on its first day, money continued to increase to $1,200 a day selling lemonade. This allowed the two brothers to hire students and homeless people that summer, giving back to the community.
The goal of Gurlie’s Lemonade & Sweets is for the two brothers to inspire and to create opportunities in the community.
Owner of Mills Pro, Davon Mills, raves about the great customer service and the delicious fried Oreo he receives every time he visits Gurlie’s Lemonade & Sweets.
“I go to Gurlie’s Lemonade & Sweets every week with my employees to get some of those fried Oreos. Every time I come, it seems like the fried Oreos get better and better. When you bite into the Oreo, you get this delicious taste in your mouth, especially if you eat the fried Oreos with milk, you will never want to stop eating them. On top of that, I come here to check up on the owners because they’re genuine, from the first day I met them. They were very welcoming and filled with jokes,” Mills said.
Gurlie’s Lemonade & Sweets was featured on NBC’s “The Today Show” on Aug. 27 in honor of Black Owned Business month. The two brothers believe in supporting each other as a whole in the community so that everyone can grow and receive the chance that they were granted in their own business.
Daryl Hall remembers the first time she tasted Gurlie’s lemonade.
“I never was a lemonade fan until I tasted Gurlie’s lemonade. I remember seeing them on the corner of Old Bainbridge going up to cars promoting their lemonade. After a few times riding by that street, I finally gave in and it was the best decision I ever made tasting their lemonade. Whenever I’m in the area, and I need to quench my thirst, I go to get their lemonade. They’re Black-owned and, they are sweet people,” Hall said.
Gurlie’s Lemonade & Sweets is giving free fried Oreos to people in the community who come to their truck and show their voting sticker. Also, they will be participating in next month’s food festival at the North Florida Fairgrounds.