Customers drink in more than 1,000 sodas at new SLP shop

Staff Writer
Since 2013, I have primarily covered the Anoka-Hennepin and Spring Lake Park school districts as well as the city of Spring Lake Park for ABC Newspapers.

Adults’ eyes were just as big as kids’ upon walking into the Blue Sun Soda and Sweets Shop on opening day Nov. 28, Small Business Saturday.

“Soda jerk” Neal Skoy helps customers find just the right soda to fit their tastes. Photos by Olivia Alveshere
“Soda jerk” Neal Skoy helps customers find just the right soda to fit their tastes. Photos by Olivia Alveshere

The store, 1625 County Highway 10, Spring Lake Park, carries more than 1,100 different kinds of soda and a variety of vintage sweets.

The store has rows and rows of fizzy favorites, including 115 brands of root beer, but also stocks less common flavors: caramel apple, chocolate, pepper and more.

Store owner Mark Lazarchic’s favorite is Spring Grove Soda Pop’s rhu-berry, made right here in Minnesota. But Lazarchic hasn’t come close to trying all of the “weird, wacky and strange sodas” the store stocks.

Lazarchic, of Minneapolis, has been researching and buying sodas for years.

“I’m fascinated with the stuff,” he said. “Coke and Pepsi own the shelves in the grocery stores, but there (are) so many options.”

Lazarchic’s newest venture in a line of businesses (he owns Renaissance Fireworks and Paper Street Soaps in the same mall) is a unique enterprise in the Twin Cities, he said.

“No one’s stupid enough to do this,” he said, gesturing to the store. It’s a passion project that may or may not turn profitable. But for now, Lazarchic isn’t worried. He owns the building at 1625 County Highway 10, and the storefront was sitting vacant before he decided to fill it with soda.

Lazarchic’s eyes twinkled as he showed off different bottles to customers opening day.

Customers are “going crazy” for Flying Cauldron’s Butterscotch Beer, according to Lazarchic. Butterbeer was made famous in the “Harry Potter” book series.

Chicago’s Schoenhofen Brewery started manufacturing Green River soda to keep itself afloat during Prohibition.

Fentimans Dandelion & Burdock soda is botanically brewed to create a distinct flavor, Lazarchic said.

Though it would appear the Blue Sun Soda and Sweets Shop has it all, hundreds of flavors are still on backorder, and opening day saw several customers request sodas the shop doesn’t yet carry – yet being the operative word.

“If there’s a soda out there, I’m going to order it,” Lazarchic said.

Josh Owens and daughter Katie, 8, study Blue Sun Soda and Sweets shelves, looking for fun fizzy drinks to try.
Josh Owens and daughter Katie, 8, study Blue Sun Soda and Sweets shelves, looking for fun fizzy drinks to try.

Josh Owens, of Coon Rapids, was driving through Spring Lake Park Saturday and noticed the Blue Sun Soda and Sweets Shop, which had not yet opened its doors. He and his daughter Katie, 8, came back later that afternoon. They had to stop, Owens said.

When they did, Katie was drawn to Totally Gross Sodas, made by Avery’s Beverages. She took home Dog Drool, but could have tried Bug Barf, Kitty Piddle or a number of other disgusting drinks.

“Soda is my thing,” Owens said. “We’ll be back.”

Other customers were similarly excited about their visit to Blue Sun Saturday.

“So far it’s been insane,” Lazarchic said. “Everyone’s just giddy.”

With some exceptions, sodas cost $2.49 per bottle, $2.29 apiece when a dozen are purchased and $1.99 each as part of a case. Customers can mix and match flavors.

A wall of PEZ candy and other old-fashioned favorites can be found at the front of the store. Blue Sun intends to beef up its candy offerings in the coming weeks, according to Lazarchic.

The store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. the rest of the week.

For more information, visit www.bluesunsodashop.com.

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