Once You Pop, You Can’t Stop


Caine Novak, Writer

Blue Sun Soda Shop is, as they proudly boast, “The Greatest Shop To Ever Exist.” While I will try and remain unbiased, it’s hard to not feel a strong emotional attachment to the store that sends you 65 years into the past. 

Walking into the one- story building, you expect it to be small. But really you enter an expansive array of soda bottles organized by flavor, shelves and shelves of candy, children’s toys, fireworks, old fashioned pinball games, and a soda bar complete with booths. The staff is passionate about their job. Some workers, like Tristan, were customers before they were employees, and have found a second home at Blue Sun. “I used to come here all the time before I worked here,” Tristen told me. “This place is awesome.”

The main attractions at Blue Sun are the soda bottles themselves. There are hundreds of glass bottles from independent manufacturers. Some are the classic figures we all are familiar with, but a few put a twist on the standard shape. Now, we’re not talking about Coke or Pepsi, but instead numerous varieties of interesting flavors. There’s a section for peach pops (a flavor my mom has quite the affinity for), grape, lime, pineapple, orange, and all colors of the rainbow. The workers spend their days restocking the shelves, and making sure all labels are pointed out, and the bottles are straight. It’s honestly a beautiful sight for anyone who likes things to be organized and tidy.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least briefly acknowledge the map on the wall that draws everyone’s eyes. It’s a demographic map of what different regions in the U.S. call the fizzy drink we all enjoy. Our friend Tristan took a few minutes to explain the history of soda in the U.S. and why southerners refer to it as “coke.”

“Coke had a monopoly over convenience stores and restaurants in the south,” he explains, “so when the only soda you can stock is Coke, then what else are you gonna call it?” 

Our conversation continued a little more in-depth about the history of soda, which exemplified the knowledge and passion the employees have for craft soda. I could tell by the way Tristan talked about Coke’s monopoly that he didn’t see the monolithic cooperation as a true soda company, but instead as an entity capitalizing on a niche culture.

Blue Sun Soda Shop is a place you can go to find a unique community that takes pride in their quirkiness. Similar to fine wines, there’s an art to craft soda and an authentic 50s experience. That type of life isn’t one we all get to experience on a daily basis, but is certainly one we should try and explore at some point. I barely scratched the surface of what the store offers in terms of goods, not to mention experience. Simply put, this place bottles and sells what it feels like to be a kid again.