Creative Thinkers

  • Creating With
    Tomorrow In Mind
  • Diverse Thinkers
  • Multiple Right Brains With
    A Dash Of Left Brain On
    Every Project

Time & Cost Efficient

  • We Meet Deadlines
  • Transparent Pricing
  • Big City Talent /
    Suburban Cost
  • Quick Turnaround Times

Focused On You

  • Readily Available
  • Same-Day Response
  • We Learn Your Brand
  • Attentive Staff


Rooted in our gifts in creative marketing and technical applications, The Lemon Ad Stand exists to help you achieve your goals. Inspired by our children’s request for a lemonade stand, we saw the need for something fresh in our community. Whether you are a start-up, a family-owned business or a well-established brand with over 100 years of traditions, our mission is to help you make the world sweeter. 

When our services help you, it’s a privilege to have done our part. We believe in our clients because, once you are a client you are family.

Executive Squeezers

Calvin B Jackson II

Founder & CEO/Main Squeeze

In the third grade Calvin was called to the Principal’s office for having too much money in his pocket. He had been selling hand painted ceramics to the other students. An entrepreneur was born. Though he loves painting, he feared being a starving artist so he channeled his creativity to the digital arts.

After growing and developing his management skills at a few different agencies throughout Chicagoland, it was time to step out and launch his own agency. The Lemon Ad Stand is a wordplay on an actual stand he built for his daughters to grow their own business.

When Cal isn’t working you can find him working….seriously he’s always working. If he’s promised you something you can trust that he’s making it happen. While sitting in the waiting area at Tae Kwon Do or gymnastics he’s working on what he promised. Rest assured that he puts the laptop down to coach a girl’s basketball team and when his girls need “Papi time”.

Vanessa Jackson-Lopez

Co-Owner, VP of Sweetness, Marketing, & Communications

In the Summer of 2006, Vanessa let Calvin know she would never leave corporate America. There was no place for her in the stress of a small business. The universe had other plans and here she is managing the lemon puns of this wonderful company. Of all her responsibilities her favorite, by far, is writing the e-blasts.

Despite how terrible her handwriting is, Vanessa has been writing stories, poems and staple bound books from an early age. Her love for vocabulary and language rivals only her love for peanut butter cups. This romance with language drives her love for communicating across various mediums. Sometimes Vanessa gets pulled away from excel docs to write copy for an industry she doesn’t know a lot about and those assignments are even more exciting than the e-blasts.

In her free time, she sleeps; preferably without dreaming which she finds disruptive. When not sleeping she’s wine tasting, preferably red wine which naturally leads to sleep.

Nicole Miller

Project Coordinator / The Lemoness

Meet Nicole! Our very talented Project Coordinator, making sure that your project ambitions are surpassed, delivered on time, and on or under budget. Also known as Mills and The Lemoness, Nicole prefers to work under the sun so you’ll typically find her near the sand! She also enjoys longs walks on the beach, kicking people’s (esp. Calvin’s) butt in chess, and all the vino tinto!

Project Coordinator at The Lemon Ad Stand

Mike Grasso

Chief Technology Officer

Is there a better way to meet someone other than over pizza & beer? Calvin met Mike at a community mixer at our amazing office space, Offix. After a couple of web bids and deep dives into massive RFPs, we quickly realized that Mike’s attention to detail, his knowledge of technical solutions, and his remarkably easy-going personality make him the perfect addition to The Lemon Ad Stand.

Mike moved to Chicago in 2000 to finish his degree from DePaul University in, of all things, Finance. That was fun for a little while but  he quickly realized that his true passion was in entrepreneurship and technology.  He enjoys creating custom technology solutions for small and medium-sized businesses that give those smaller businesses a competitive advantage against larger players in their market.

For fun, Mike enjoys socializing (at a safe distance) with neighbors, friends and family in Chicago.  He also enjoys traveling. His favorite place thus far is Iceland. Mike is looking forward to getting back on the adventure trail again soon!

Chief Tech Officer at The Lemon Ad Stand

Maddie Defino

The Madd Mixer / Art Director

Starting off as an intern for Calvin over ten years ago, Maddie has been changing the creative landscape as a member of The Stand from the jump. In her love of designing and creating, Maddie mixes things up – embodying our commitment to creative excellence.

When she’s not at The Stand, Maddie continues with the creative flow in music. If not on the ivory keys playing music by ear, she can be found in her happy place, the aisles of the closest Target. Day long shopping sprees with the amazing women in her life and chocolate martinis with friends can’t be beat for Maddie. Her truest love is spending time with family and friends.
Without Maddie’s fresh outlook, The Stand wouldn’t be where it is today. Everyone needs a little mixing, and Maddie’s got us shaken, stirred and ready for whatever our clients request.

Maddie Defino at The Lemon Ad Stand

Brent Blanks

Director of Operations

It was the balmy Summer of 2007, a storm had almost canceled Vanessa & Calvin’s epic wedding. The wedding team was thin and it was at the rehearsal that they realized they didn’t have a tech to manage the audioboard in the church.  Brent (who they had never even met) stepped forward and said, “I can do it.” Fast forward 13 years when The Lemon Ad Stand needed to revisit its operational processes and yet again Brent steps forward to say, “I can do it.”

Brent brings over 10 years of management experience, specifically dedicated to the development of the people who drive the processes. His ability to assess an individual, tap into their strengths, and illuminate the path to success is uncanny. He is quick-witted and always corrects us with a smile. The entire Lemon Ad Stand team is growing and improving under Brent’s supervision.

When not realigning corporate structures or reading up on business management Brent can be found Netflix & chilling with his wife and two daughters.

Brent Blanks

Dr. Christopher Petty

Director of Instructional Design and Education Services

Dr. Christopher Petty leads our instructional design team and is our house expert on educational services. We define instructional design as the process by which learning products and experiences are designed, developed, and delivered. These learning products include online coursework, instructional manuals, video tutorials, learning simulations, and more. Dr. Petty implements a systematic process to develop education and training programs in a consistent and reliable fashion. With every education-based client, he participates in an analysis of learning needs and stated goals that will then lead to the systematic development of an instructional delivery system to meet those needs and reach those goals.

Aside from being The Lemon Ad Stand’s educational juggernaut, Dr. Petty hosts all of our team Summer pool parties at his Overbrook Estate. He Works hard and balances it out with well-deserved playtime at the end of the day.

Morgan Lanton

Court Zester

Coming from a family full of artists and educators, Morgan uses the inspiration and ambition from her relatives to come up with out of the box ideas, something we pride ourselves in at the stand. When she isn’t putting the squeeze to the lemons life gave her, you can find her writing short stories, painting or telling one of her illustrious jokes. She is a Junior at Dominican University working towards a bachelors degree in communications with a minor in professional writing.

Sara Cano-Gerringer

Account Manager / Market Zester

Fellow Dominican Alum, Sara Cano-Gerringer answered her phone when Calvin called, on a whim, looking for a translator. That translated into our Market Zester coming on board. She loves helping businesses grow using her energetic and accomplished bilingual executive project management experience along with her successful track record of capitalizing on growth opportunities using her analytic skills.

When she isn’t taking a shift at The Stand, she likes spending time with her family, exploring local spots, traveling and cooking. She is inspired by her family and when she can, she enjoys her favorites; smooth mezcal and grape leaves, only made using her grandmother’s famous recipe.

Our Market Zester brings a positive attitude to everything she does, and lightens up our glass daily. Sara is simply the zest!

Jarrie Harris

Recipe Guardian

In desperate need of calm, Vanessa remembered Jarrie’s refreshing spirit. In one chat V asked her to quit her job and come work for The Stand. Two weeks later, we gained our Recipe Guardian! Jarrie brings a spirit of calm with a splash of fun and a twist of encouragement through the way she keeps us organized and light.

Beyond The Stand, she continues her role of being a recipe guardian, cooking and baking delicious meals. When she’s not crushing her daily water goals, she enjoys a nice glass of coffee in the mornings and whiskey in the evenings. When life gave her lemons, she made a revitalizing citrus scrub, because to her, skincare is equivalent to healthcare.

Look to Jarrie to have the challenging conversations and be comforted because the key to an awesome recipe is to remain light, airy and consistent.

Mariestel Salas

Creative Marketing Coordinator / Lemon Cookie

Mariestel was discovered by Vanessa at very young age, somewhere between 4 & 5. She was the original artist, always sketching and ripping paper into paper-mache before either girl knew what it was. One time Mariestel provided a suspect sketch to a police officer (this is actually a great story, call us we’ll tell it to you). Needless to say, Mariestel & Vanessa go way back so she was an obvious addition to The LemonAd Stand.

Today, Mariestel serves as Creative Coordinator for the company’s marketing initiatives. You don’t receive any marketing materials from The Lemon Ad Stand that haven’t been stamped by her approval. She concepts, edits copy and can be seen dressed as a leprechaun in a St. Patty’s Day ad we ran. That’s commitment.

In her free time, she works out to balance out her fascination with beer tasting. If you need kettlebell strategies or suggestions on an IPA, Mariestel is your go-to.