On Wednesday, Oct. 21, juniors attended a meeting hosted by the co-owner of Gurlie’s Lemonade and Sweets, Demetrius Murray, during flex. The presentation was given as a part of the Pathway to Success series of the junior leadership program. The meeting was held virtually through Teams by teacher Mrs. Nina Davis, along with Mr. Murray.

“Their presentation was inspirational and taught us to always chase our dreams and persevere,” junior Evans Bishop said.

Mr. Murray talked to the class about his rags to riches story, while telling his story of being a young entrepreneur. He stressed the importance of supporting small, minority-owned businesses.

Mr. Murray and Mrs. Davis in front of the Gurlie’s Lemonade and Sweets food truck

“People love originality, and there’s value in that,” Luv Gurlie’s co-owner Demetrius Murray said. “The more ‘you’ you are, the more it stands out. You have got to be a likeable person and that comes from being genuine.”

Mr. Murray and his brother/co-owner, Marquis Williams, took a lemonade recipe from Williams’s grandmother and decided to sell lemonade. The business started off with just $300, all the two founders could scrape together. Using this money, the two set up a stand on the side of the road and started their journey in growing their business. 

Mrs. Davis and Mr. Murray talking to Maclay juniors on Teams

“We are where we are now thanks to the love and support from our community,” Mr. Murray said.

Eventually, with support from the Tallahassee community, the two added another recipe to their menu: fried Oreos. A GoFundMe was set up to help the upcoming business, and eventually, the donations enabled them to upgrade to a food truck. The owners have chosen to take the support they have received and pay it forward by helping underprivileged youth in the south side of town by offering them jobs in the food truck.

“Two guys from the ghetto making it to the point to where we could hire people,” Mr. Murray said. “To fulfill somebody’s hope is the highest level of human experience.”

For the month of October, the business is promoting breast cancer awareness by making their fried Oreos and lemonade pink.

Gurlie’s Pink Lemonade and Sweets for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

This experience was specifically for Maclay juniors, as the leadership class is a preparation course for the Junior Interview Series. The juniors are being taught skills to help them when it comes to resume building and college interviews.

“I thought the speaker was passionate about what he does, and he was also super inspiring,” junior Turner Beshears said.

Mrs. Davis is teaching students how to market themselves to colleges and, in the future, to businesses. The class is also aiming to inspire and motivate the junior class to create a future they will flourish in. 

“It’s great to support our local communities and uplift them,” leadership teacher Mrs. Davis said. “Your will power, determination and perseverance are the keys to success.”