Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Oldsters and the terminally nerdy will remember a Saturday Night Live sketch from the late 70s called The Scotch Boutique, featuring a store whose sole product was Scotch tape. Fred Willard played Walker, a man with a dream:
"Yeah, you know, when you're working with a brand new, fresh idea, it's always a little harder. You know, um, most people are used to buying their - their tape when they go to the supermarket or drug store, you know. What we've got to do is turn their thinking around so they make a special trip down here to the Scotch Boutique when they want, uh, tape."
Why am I bringing this up? Because the Scotch Boutique instantly popped into my head when my friend Luan mentioned a store in Vancouver called Pop Culture that sells only soda pop. And just as quickly I knew I had to go there. And I'm not even particularly fond of soda pop, but when you hear something like that, how can you stay away?
Located in downtown Vancouver in a quaint brick building under the spreading branches of a maple tree, the sidewalk in front is lined with colorful Adirondack chairs ideally suited for sitting and sipping. Walking in the door reveals an oddly empty room with a counter in back that sells sandwiches and hoagies, a stage on the left with several tables and a bank of coolers against the right-hand wall. But look into those coolers and it's a one-way ticket to childhood.
Glass bottles of Dad's Root Beer, original-recipe Dublin Dr. Pepper and Nesbitt's orange soda are lined up like so many little soldiers, along with multiple flavors of newer sodas from Jones, Izze, Fentiman's, Boylan and Portland-based Hot Lips. You'll also find exotic sodas like Sidral Mundet, an apple soda from Mexico, Sprecher Root Beer from Wisconsin and a psychedelic array of Jarritos sodas that would send Timothy Leary into flashback mode.
Pop Culture is obviously someone's dream, and a focused one at that. As Walker said when a woman came into the Scotch Boutique asking if he had recording tape, "No, just cellophane. The sticky kind. If you need any of the sticky kind, you know where to come!"
Details: Pop Culture, 1929 Main St., Vancouver, WA. Phone 360-750-1784.