Retro flavors, more than 50 of them, sweeten the modern convenience store of an Ashland Shell gas station to the palatable pleasure of patrons.
Once upon a time soda came in colorful glass bottles. The glass bottle trend is back and Gary Mallicoat, 63, searches the globe in search of real soda to sell at the gas station he owns with his wife, Linda Mallicoat.
It took a lot of research to find out where to get all this stuff, Mallicoat said.
Most of the sodas are currently manufactured in the United States, except for one pink anomaly from Japan. This one is particularly fun. It's not carbonated until you break a little marble into the syrupy liquid to create the soda fizz that has satisfied people since at least the late 1800s.
Some of the names many patrons remember from their youth include: Moxie, Dad's rootbeer, Bubble Up, Frosties, Dr. Pepper, Crush, Squirt and, of course, Pepsi. Advertising signage for these old-timers hangs from the walls of the store.
The Dr. Pepper in the bottles sold there includes numbers representing the advertising slogan from the 1930s, "Drink a bite to eat at 10, 2 and 4." The Squirt bottle is indicative of a time when its slogan was, "Put a little Squirt in your life!"
Moxie is the oldest of the variety offered by Mallicoat. "What this country needs is plenty of Moxie" was one early slogan.
When people notice the nostalgic novelties, like the Snake River Sarsaparilla, they load up while they can. Ashlanders make special trips just to get a bottle of their favorite flavor, according to Mallicoat.
Seventy-two cases just arrived, said Mallicoat as he doted over his bottles.
"I didn't even know they made that many," said one hurried customer as she left the store.
All but the diet sodas are made with real sugar, hence Mallicoat's sign, "Real Soda in Real Bottles."
The Shell gas station located at 2495 Ashland St. is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Yes, he still sells his gas for 25-cents per gallon, if you pay with pre-1964 dimes, quarters and half-dollars.