People in the Roanoke Valley love Deb’s Frozen Lemonade.
You can see it in children’s crayon drawings taped to the humble stand’s white cinder block walls. Or in the photos of weddings the tiny business has catered, or in the line out the door that forms on a hot summer afternoon. Or in the nearly 8,000 “likes” Deb’s has garnered on Facebook.
Since 1977 the mother-daughter operation has been cooling the Roanoke Valley with a tart and refreshing iced concoction. It’s a sweet and simple small business: shaved ice lemonade, hot dogs and snacks. Cash only.
But a sour May 31 letter from a Rhode Island lawyer has a left owners Joyce and Debra Castelli puckering with displeasure.
It suggests their single-store, three-truck operation has stolen the registered trademarks of Del’s Lemonade, an industry behemoth with dozens of stores spread across 13 states, mostly in New England.
“Your business, Deb’s Frozen Lemonade, has been using a trademark consisting of a lemon design either identical to marks belonging and registered to Del’s … or confusing similar to such marks,” lawyer Jeffrey Techentin wrote.
The letter demands Deb’s “cease and desist any further use of the infringing mark(s).” It concludes with a hint Del’s may sue.
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