Pop Shoppe Pop Is Back In The Northland

One of the first News Tribune Attic posts, back in early 2008, included this 1977 photo of Central Entrance, which showed the Pop Shoppe:

As I learned then, the Pop Shoppe was a retailer that sold returnable, refillable bottles of soda in several flavors; customers could mix and match their soda selections. You can find more background here.

The original Pop Shoppe went out of business in the 1980s, but the brand has been revived in the past decade in Canada and the U.S., with the pop sold at gas stations, convenience stores and other locations (instead of Pop Shoppe-branded stores).

And now, you can find it again in the Northland. Last week I stopped in at the Super America on Miller Trunk Highway out near Pike Lake, and found these in the cooler:

These are two of the eight flavors bottled by the “new” Pop Shoppe (including cream soda, which apparently had a lot of fans). I don’t know if they are in fact the original soda “recipes,” but I can say that the cola had a unique flavor – certainly different than Coke, Pepsi or RC. A little sweeter and less bite than some colas. The “lime ricky” wasn’t bad, but wasn’t all that good, either.

Want to try some for yourself? The company’s website lists many other Minnesota outlets, including several along the I-35 corridor. The Pike Lake Super America isn’t listed; I’m not sure if the soda is available anywhere else in the Twin Ports area. I also don’t know how long it has been back here – but last week was the first time I saw it.

Share your Pop Shoppe memories and sightings by posting a comment.

19 Responses

  1. Sharon Hix

    Are there any plans in the works to open Franchises that would be like the Original stores? I have such fond memories of the red plastic cases and the little carts and strolling through the store trying to pick which flavors would be my favorite for the week. We lived outside of town and went to our Pop Shoppe every Saturday after Grocery shopping. I haven’t found a Sarsaparilla that is as good as yours ever again. I would love information on opening a store here locally again. With the Nostalgia of us Boomers, I think it would be a big hit and money making arrangement!

    1. I know that this is an old post, but I wanted to let you know that we sell Pop Shoppe Sodas at Fizzy Waters, along with over 500 other sodas. We sell by the bottle, so you can select a make-your-own six pack from any of our flavors. We are located at 339 Canal Park Drive in Duluth, MN. Our phone number is (218) 464-0217.
      We actually have in 6 different sarsparillas in right now.

  2. donna

    I can remeber going to the store with my mother and picking out the flavors and putting them in the plastic crate. Pineapple, grape, and cream was my favorite. Today I went into the cafe at work and saw the cream and had to buy one. Quite a few people looked at me like I was strange as they did not know what it was but for me it was some very good memories and I hope they are back in the area. I will be looking for a store that has them.


  3. Wow. Talk about old memories! I think I remember there being one of these stors in woodland also. Used to love the Sasparilla flavor along with the cream soda and cherry cola. They used to have many more than 8 flavors though. wasn’t it like 25 flavors and some diet too? Now I gotta see if I can find that stuff here in the twin cities. Now all we need is for Frito Lay to bring back the Sour Cream and Onion Doritos! 🙂

  4. It’s great to see all of these comments and memories. Thanks to Andrew for writing the original piece, and to everyone who’s commented… Especially Lime Ricky fans! It’s our 2nd most popular flavor you know!! The PoP Shoppe has been back and making an impact since 2004. We are still based out of Ontario Canada, and new distributors across the United States are being announced regularly. Keep up with all The PoP Shoppe news on our website: http://www.thepopshoppe.com through our Facebook group, and on Twitter @popshoppepop

  5. Tim W

    We had a Pop Shoppe in tiny Solon Springs, WI growing up. My family loved it! I always eagerly anticipated going with my folks to pick out all of the different flavors. When you are a kid, that place was heaven. Pineapple was my favorite as well. How cool is it to pick a case of soda with as many different flavors as you wanted?

  6. Steve Miller

    There used to be a Pop Shoppe at the top of 6th Ave E. where the Spur is now. We used to walk down there and get it all the time. Cream Soda was great.

    1. Andrew

      The “new” Pop Shoppe does not use returnable bottles. But judging from the nostalgia for that old soda, you might be able to make some money by selling them on eBay.

  7. Ashlee

    I grew up on The Pop Shoppe soda (pop). It was great being able to pick your flavors instead of getting all of the same flavors like you get now when you buy a case in the grocery store. My favorite was Pineapple…next to grape and strawberry ! I live in Texas now so I’ll have to stock up when I get home for a visit !!!

  8. Lime Rickey was my favorite with cream soda second. I’m definitely gonna check out Holiday and the Little Store here in town to see if they are carrying it and thanks for the heads up.

  9. Paul

    I still have one of the plastic cases for the bottles. The store was at 25 Belknap St
    Superior. The building is now Metro Credit Union. We used to go there all the time.
    We lived a block away.

  10. cerissa

    Proctor little store, they’ve been at the store for around 7 to 8 months. I love the rootbeer it makes for an awesome rootbeer float!

  11. Deede

    One of the clearest memories I have of visiting my dad and step-mom for two weeks during the summer in West Duluth was making the trip to the Pop Shoppe to select “my” soda for the visit. My sister and I each got to pick out the flavors we wanted and there were all kinds of unique items. I remember we each got a plastic crate with compartments for each bottle. For a kid who whose birth mom never let her have soda, it was HEAVEN! Thanks Dad for indulging a little kid (believe me, he was super strict in most ways but figured a little soda never killed anyone), and thanks Pop Shoppe for giving me a great memory of spending time with my dad and step mom!

  12. Amanda

    This soda is also available at the Super America on Woodland Ave! It’s great! I tried the Pineapple Soda and loved it!

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