Street smarts: 7-year-old boy turns play into pay

October 03, 1994|By Knight-Ridder Newspapers

GASTONIA, N.C. -- If the neighborhood kids wanted to play with 7-year-old Logan Rhyne yesterday, they had to pay.

That's because the second grader had sole rights to his street and the fun 'n' games he lined it with.

Logan had obtained a city permit to close his block on 11th Street for three hours for his very own street fair. He charged 50 cents to each of the 40 or so children who came out to play with him.

"I read this book in the library about how to make money," said Logan, sitting on a bale of hay as he watched the other kids play. "And I thought this would be a good idea. I thought 50 cents was a good price because I'm letting them play as much as they like."

Logan's mother, Shelby Rhyne, says the fair is the latest in a series of unique ideas her son has whipped up to make a buck.

Last year, Logan made more than $50 selling pumpkins and Indian corn he grew in his grandfather's garden. This year, rats ate the Indian corn and the pumpkins rotted.

So what's a kid entrepreneur to do when lemonade stands have closed for the season and Girl Scouts have cornered the cookie market?

Well, in Logan's world, the streets are paved with gold.

Complete with a bicycle and tricycle course, bean bag toss and other games, Logan's Street Fair had kids running around to more attractions than they could ever have imagined. He also provided chalk for the kids to draw designs on the street.

Logan marketed his big play day by passing out fliers at his school and in his neighborhood.

But before Logan's Street Fair could become reality, he had to get neighbors on his block to agree to give up their rights to the street during the fair. The Gaston Day School student and his parents then applied for a city permit, which was free, and city officials came out with barricades to block the street.

Parks and Recreation Director Kieffer Gaddis, who handles permits, said he'd never seen anything like it. "That's the first time I've heard of that happening," Mr. Gaddis said of a child obtaining a permit to close off a street.

Kids started showing up about 1:30, a half-hour before the fair officially opened.

Four-year-old Earnest Sumner arrived on his tricycle with a dollar bill in hand. Others came with their parents, some of whom said their children had been looking forward to playing with Logan all week.

Parent Alice Matthews, who helped get the word out among neighborhood children, said Logan is a kid who has turned fun and games into big business.

"I think he's a future entrepreneur," she said. "I asked him if I could have a cut of the money he makes, but I think he's going to keep the profits."

So, can you start calling him Trump Junior?

Not yet. For now, Logan says he's just a kid who wanted to make a little money to buy more Lego toy building blocks.

"I always want Legos, and I think of ways to make money to buy more Legos," he said. "I'm a big Lego fan."

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