Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I scream, you scream.

We all scream for Ice Cream! Especially in the middle of July, in sunny South Carolina!

Have you ever watched one of those Info-mericals on TV where it seems like a regular program, but then you realize it’s really just an advertisement, and they’re trying to sell you something?

Well, this column is sorta like that!

Except, this time, when we get to the end, I won’t be trying to sell you something… I’ll be giving it away to you for FREE!!!

This little info-mercial is about Gatsbees Worlds Fair Soda Fountain, a pet project I began a couple of years ago. Let me tell you how it happened….

I started Gatsbees because I realized the old style Soda Fountains had become a thing of the past, and, frankly, it was a little piece of Americana that I wanted to hang on to!

It was way back in 2006 that the inspiration first came to me: What if there WAS such a place… like the good-old-days… old-timey and nostalgic? I remembered the Soda Fountains that were once the central gathering place for EVERY small town in America. Soda Fountains were where families gathered, neighbors met neighbors, and things were a lot simpler.

After looking around, I discovered that TRUE soda fountains… where beverages were mixed any way you wanted while you watched…. were totally a thing of the past in America. The leisurely, neighborly soda fountains which were once the fabric of our nation have long since been replaced by fast food chain restaurants. A great part of life was missing.

Frankly, I became fascinated with the concept of bringing back soda fountains to a new generation of Americans…. and, ever since then, have been working in my “spare time” to develop the concept.

Along the way, we discovered that -- now as then -- our soda fountain is really about a lot more than the drinks, treats, and ice cream. It’s about having a family-friendly place to spend time, relax, and get to know your neighbors again… like the old days, before cell phones and shopping malls, before computer games and the Internet.

So, for a couple of years now, Gatsbees Worlds Fair Soda Fountain has been working to bring back this “old style” gathering place and finding ways to re-invent the soda fountain.

Nowadays, to most people, “soda fountain” means “ice cream shop”. While it’s true that we serve all kinds of ice cream -- from sundaes and banana splits, to milkshakes, malts and floats -- the original soda fountains were based on the beverages: carbonated “soda” water, mixed with hundreds of various flavors.

Consequently, Gatsbees Worlds Fair Soda Fountain -- right here in the Midlands -- is currently the only establishment in the entire South where you watch your sodas being custom-flavored by soda jerks – the old fashioned way, any combination of flavors you want!!!! (Actually, we’re told there is only one other business in all of America that still makes sodas the old-fashioned way!) While its true we’ve got a long way to go before Gatsbees becomes a household word, we’re nonetheless proud of the progress we HAVE made – and the hundreds of friends we’ve gained – in trying to bring an all-new “old” concept to the market!

So, I want to personally invite each of my readers to drop by, check us out, give us your ideas and suggestions… and enjoy a soda, ice cream, hot dog or sandwich while you’re there. We’re open daily from 11:30 am until 8:00pm (and later on weekends), located at 7585 St. Andrews Road in Irmo (behind the Lizard’s Thicket and beside Carolina Wings.) I might also add that Gatsbees has quickly become a favorite place for parties and celebrations. For more information, you can call 803-233-4133 visit our website: www.Gatsbees.com.

And… here comes the FREE part… if you walk into Gatsbees waving this newspaper in one hand, and tell the soda jerk: “Rod-Boy said you would let me try out a new soda flavor for FREE”… they’ll let you try out a new soda flavor for FREE!

Just pick any flavor -- or combination of flavors -- you’ve never tried before, and we’re gonna let you try it out… OUR TREAT! (If you pick a combination of flavors our soda jerks have never made before, we’ll probably name it for you!!!!) It’s a small token of appreciation for you reading all the way to the end of my column AGAIN!

Frankly, just dropping in and seeing the place will help to make this small dream a success. And maybe the flavor of soda you invent will become your new favorite, and you’ll come back again… or tell your friends, and they’ll drop by.

After all, it’s an ice-cold soda… and this is the middle of July in sunny South Carolina!!!

And maybe, with your help, we can give a happy little taste of the Good-Ole-Days to a new generation.

As always, I thank you for your support.

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