You know how every now and then when you’re going about your day-to-life, something catches your eye and you ignore it for a millisecond (because you’re intent on doing whatever day-to-day thing it is you’re doing), and then suddenly it hits you that this newly spotted thing is quite out of the ordinary and you stop in your tracks and say, “What the?!?!?!?!?”
Well, that happened to me one Saturday a few weeks ago when Raymond and I were visiting Kensington Market in Toronto. We were in a super-cool butcher shop called Sanagan’s Meat Locker. Now, I’ve already mentioned that butcher shop here at Meanwhile, at the Manse, because it is where I saw our exceptional local butter, Stirling brand (with its exceptionally beautiful packaging, designed by our friend Mimi Maxwell), offered for sale. Which was delightful to see, and made me proud to be from central Hastings County where such a fine product is made. But because I know how good Stirling butter is, I wasn’t really surprised to see it in this very high-end food shop.
What did surprise me was what was I found a couple of shelves up from the Stirling butter in the same cooler. People, it was (as you can see from my photo) bottles of Pop Shoppe pop. Who knew that that stuff from the late 1960s and the 1970s (more or less the years of my childhood here at the Manse, as it happens) was still around? Or had it made a comeback after disappearing for many years? I didn’t know, but of course I snapped the picture and determined I would find out.
Do you remember the Pop Shoppe? My recollections of it (which seem to be largely corroborated by the information I found at thepopshoppe.com) are that it was a Canadian company that sold cheaper-than-brand-name soft drinks in funny little bottles from actual Pop Shoppe stores – as opposed to through every convenience and grocery store going, as Coke and Pepsi did. (There was a Pop Shoppe store in Peterborough, Ont., the small city where my maternal grandparents lived in retirement, and I think they sometimes bought “pop” there. But I could be wrong about that.) And I also recalled that it came in slightly wacky flavours and bright not-altogether-natural-looking colours. And I also recalled that it seemed to disappear many, many years ago.
So what the deuce was Pop Shoppe pop doing on the shelves of a fancy-schmancy butcher shop in Kensington Market?
Well of course you’ve guessed it. Everything old really is new again, and trendy to boot, and Pop Shoppe pop has made a comeback. Only as far as I know, this time around there are no actual stores; the clever marketing decision seems to have been to aim at the high-end nostalgia market and sell it in the aforementioned fancy-schmancy stores – the idea being, I am sure, that the people old enough to remember the Pop Shoppe are also the people with the most disposable income, because they’re of a certain age and have been working all their adult lives.
The company’s website, which is as highly colourful as the company’s product, explains that the Pop Shoppe started in London, Ont., in 1969, was popular for a decade or so, got less popular, went out of business in 1983, and started to come back to life almost 20 years later, in 2002. (There is a lot more detail on this section of the site, which I urge you to check out if this topic is of the remotest interest to you.)
And so, yes: everything old (i.e. from the days of my youth at the Manse) is new. And back. And, apparently, just waiting for me to stumble across it.