L’ANSE AMOUR, N.L. – While a lot of six-year-olds might have their eye on a new dirt bike, there are very few that can would start their own business to earn the money to buy one.
Jax Ryland of L’anse Amour is one of those exceptional young people. When he set his mind on getting a dirt bike a few months ago, his parents, Lisa Davis-Ryland and Brad Ryland took it as a teaching opportunity.
“The whole thing started when he wanted a dirt bike earlier the summer,” Davis-Ryland said, “His buddy got a dirt bike, so of course he wanted one and his father told him he was going to have to make his own money.
“Within a few days the icebergs started coming around, and Brad threw the idea out there, why don’t we see if we can sell some iceberg ice?”
Jax and his Dad soon started collecting and bagging iceberg ice. He took over one of the family’s deep fridges, and began his business, selling the ice for $4 per bag.
The new business soon had support from Amanda Barney, the coordinator for Youth Ventures in L’Anse au Loup. She did some advertising for the area’s youngest entrepreneur, and suddenly business was booming.
“He started it on a Wednesday and on Friday, he had over 60 bags gone. By the end of the next week, he had over 150 bags gone,” Davis-Ryland said. “He was rocking it.”
“By now he has probably sold over 250 bags of ice, mostly to family and friends. Tourists, they like the idea of the iceberg ice, but to take a 10 pound bag of ice, it’s not something they’ve got room for,” Davis-Ryland said. “It’s mostly the local support that got him where he is.”
To keep costs reasonable, the Ryland family was seeking a used dirt bike, and on a recent trip to St. John’s they saw the right bike on Kijji. Jax hadn’t quite sold enough to afford it yet, but rather than let the opportunity slip by, his parents floated him a temporary loan.
“Jax had to have his first IOU to his Mom and Dad for $390,” Davis-Ryland said. “But since getting his bike he has paid us back the $390 and he is actually money on top.”
“I think it’s nice to teach kids the value of money,” she continued, “He didn’t think it was right to have to give up all this cash and just get one bike with all this money, but, we said, ‘You know, kid, that’s life.’ It teaches them.”
“He’s a determined kid, he loves to help out, he is very much hands on. The idea of having to work, that didn’t bother him,” Davis-Ryland said.” Often I go to the grocery store in the wintertime and while I’m in getting groceries, he’s out shovelling snow. That’s just the kind of kid he is.
The combination of determination and family support helped Jax get the bike of his dreams, a red and white Honda with the number 6 on the front.
The original owner of the bike got it when he was six, and this six year old is looking forward to a summer of dirt bike riding.
“I’ve got a very long summer to ride my bike and I’m happy, too,” he said.
Jax hasn’t had a chance to go riding with his friend whose dirt bike inspired this whole project, but he has a route that he follows on parent-supervised trips near his house.
“I go to Uncle Barry’s shed, to Aunt Diane’s house and back and Uncle Barry’s house and back, and that’s only how far I can go,” Jax said.
Davis-Ryland says they are grateful for the way that friends and family helped Jax to get his bike.
“Thanks to everyone who supported him in his first business,” Davis-Ryland said. “I think he will continue it this summer.”
“He’ll be back again next summer, maybe with a different venture, but hopefully, as parents, we’ll be able to encourage him to keep going.”
Even though the icebergs are mostly gone from the area, Jax still has about 35 bags of ice in his freezer if anyone needs some.