Over the holidays an ad appeared on Craigslist from a local Oak Grove resident selling the original equipment from the Oak Grove Drug Store & Ice Cream/Soda Fountain including stools and the fountain. Back in the day, the Oak Grove Drug Store was a community gathering place, sold dry goods, pharmaceuticals, and of course ice cream and sodas. Sadly, the building burned down decades ago. In its place now sits the relocated Safari Club and auction house.
And, what may now come full circle is that the owners of the Safari Club on Arista have purchased the old equipment with plans to restore the fountain and reopen (of sorts) the fountain. Here are some questions we asked them on their plans.
Tell us about your business.
Our business is kind of several businesses rolled into one building. We have the auctions, which have been primarily online only but we plan on opening them back up to the public this year. We also have the Safari Club Store in the front part of the building, which sells toys, collectibles, jewelry, purses, etc. –pretty much whatever we think is cool. Our plan is to open a Safari Club area in the larger part of our building this year and possibly lease spaces to dealers of antiques, collectibles, art & handcrafted items. Also, we’d like to host Spring and Summer higher-end ‘Flea Markets’ on our property for vintage and handcrafted items since we’ve had great success with our yearly Block Parties. Our main business is auctions, however, and we offer consignment services for the auctions and specialize in estates, antiques and collectibles.
Why did you buy the old soda fountain equipment?
We’re huge fans of history, which is why we love the Downtown Oak Grove area. Our property used to be the home of the original Oak Grove Drug Store & Ice Cream/Soda Fountain. In the years we’ve been here, we’ve heard many stories about how important the soda fountain was to the people in this area. The drugstore burned to the ground many years ago but the equipment was auctioned off before it was destroyed. When I saw the post about the original soda fountain being for sale… I knew I had to try to bring it ‘home’. We negotiated a deal and now own the original fountain freezer unit, ‘backbar’ cabinet fronts and even several of the original stools.
What are your plans for the soda fountain equipment?
Our goal is now to remodel an area in our building to be the new ‘home’ of the Oak Grove Ice Cream & Soda Fountain. We were very sorry to see Mix & Match leave our neighborhood because I think we needed a place where people could walk with their kids or their dogs to get a treat and just ENJOY Oak Grove. We hope to open the Ice Cream & Soda Fountain to Oak Grover by Spring, but have a lot of work to do first.
How can the community help?
We would LOVE to have help from the community with this. Anyone with construction skills, plumbing skills, design skills, restaurant skills, who would be willing to help, would be a great help to us! We’d even be willing to talk to someone about running the fountain for us if anyone is interested. This is not a project that is about the money to us, it is about restoring something here that we think Oak Grove needs.
Contact Cindy Smith for more information here: firstname.lastname@example.org