Meet the next mega millionaires

Photos by Ashley Bates

Start ‘em young, and watch ‘em grow! 

As noses tingled when Jack Frost tickled, three young entrepreneurs in Wedgewood put their heads together and decided to open the Three Brothers Hot Chocolate Stand complete with marshmallows and peppermint sticks to warm things up a bit for Big Canoers who happened by. To add to the flavorable sipping, pre-packaged gingerbread cookies, and Christmas tree cakes were included as extra treats, all for free! Of course, donations were happily accepted, maybe to help fund summer lemonade stands when temperatures soar. 

By the end of the two-day hot chocolate sipping, the boys had almost $100 donated. Then came the hard lesson in economics when they learned about cost versus profit. In the end, each boy had dollars to put into their piggy banks and used some of the profit to buy Christmas gifts for the family.

Eight-year-old Sean and five-year-old Liam Wheeler did most of the heavy lifting as 15-month-old Phoenix probably had no idea what was going on. Phoenix just knew his handsome older brothers were up to something big and he wasn’t about to be left behind. 

To add to the merriment, the boys performed magic tricks and chatted up the crowd. Reindeer Rudolph marked the spot where the boys stood decked in bright red Santa caps with snowy white face masks creating the illusion of fluffy beards on sweet, innocent faces.

The stand was quite a hit as holiday cheer took on a whole new look. Good going, boys, your future looks starry bright with such energetic, enterprising enthusiasm even at your young ages. Come June or July, we’ll all be in line at your roadside stand for icy cold lemonade to beat the summertime heat. 

There is a bit of Big Canoe history with this family. Allen, Abby and daughter Ashley Bates have had a home in Big Canoe for 26 years. They first purchased property in 1989 when Ashley was three years old. The Bates became full time residents in 1994, right before Ashley started 4th grade at Tate Elementary. Ashley is now 34 and has a family of her own with her partner Sean. 

Ashley and her young family of five moved in with her parents Allen and Abby in March 2020, right before the pandemic hit.

“It is a great blessing to be with my parents and in my childhood home in Big Canoe. I couldn’t imagine being raised anywhere else. I hope our boys can embrace the beauty and adventure, the love and fellowship of Big Canoe, the way I did growing up here,” Ashley fondly remembers.

We’re glad you’re here, family of five plus two grandparents! 

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