The first time I stepped into Blue Sun Soda Shop in Spring Lake Park, I was immediately immersed in a whole new world. Aisles and aisles of colorful bottles welcomed me into the little shop. At the back, three retro pinball machines sat quietly. I wandered up and down the aisles, looking at more soda than I could ever dream of—1,300 flavors, to be exact, the largest selection in the world. There was a whole row dedicated to different brands of root beer, more than I could count. Around the rest of the store, I saw cherry colas, peach sodas, Butterbeer from Harry Potter, and even strange flavors like bacon flavored soda. And this was when the shop was still brand new and a fraction of the size it is today.
Blue Sun opened on Small Business Saturday in 2015. According to owner Mark Lazarchic, or “Soda Pop Mark,” they were not prepared for the turnout. “We opened and the store was half sold out by the end of the day,” he says. “You see, I had only ordered one case of each flavor because it would be on the shelves forever. So I dismissed it as a fluke opening, and then I spent the next 72 days working 7 days a week open to close in the store.”
But it wasn’t a fluke. Since the opening, business has been booming. Lazarchic had to hire a whole staff to help him run the shop. The shop has nearly tripled its size since its conception. They’ve added a huge candy section and expanded the retro pinball machines to a whole arcade. More recently they started offering tours of the in-house bottling facility it took ownership of in 2017. My favorite feature is the old-fashioned soda fountain eatery where you can get your fill of hot dogs, ice cream floats, phosphate soda (the popcorn flavor isn’t actually too bad!), and more.
As you browse the soda selection, munch on the free popcorn they provide. Don’t worry about getting thirsty—there is a bottle chiller in the store. Buy a soda, put it in the chiller, and enjoy right away! The 84 listed brands and 64 flavors listed on the website are just a sample of the extensive soda selection.
Sure, you can get a normal cherry cola or a basic root beer, but when you are in Blue Sun Soda Shop, you have to try some of their other flavors. Search for your childhood favorite—they just might have it. Spice it up with coffee, bubble gum, cranberry, pineapple, or orange cream. They also have classic state fair flavors, like mini donuts and cotton candy. If you’re feeling brave, head to the Weird Sodas section and try sodas like worm ooze, pickles, bacon, and chocolate.
In normal years, Blue Soda hosts one to four food trucks a week as well as biweekly events, including free tastings and seasonal tie-ins, like visits from Santa Claus. You can get the latest updates on food trucks, events, and all things Blue Sun at their Facebook Page.
Blue Sun Soda Shop is unique in all aspects. Besides the innumerable soda flavors on display in the shop, its in-house bottling facility manufactures Lazarchic’s own brand, Whistler Soda, which is bottled alongside North Star Soda. As Blue Sun boasts on its website, “They are both bottled on an authentic 1952 Crown, Cork and Seal Dixie Model F bottling line; just like they used to do it in the good old days.”
While Google calls Blue Sun Soda Shop a dessert shop, its business cards reads “The Greatest Store in the History of Stores.” And this may just be true. Everyone will feel like a kid in a candy shop here because that’s just what it is. Once you step inside, you don’t want to leave. So stick around, take a tour of the bottling facility, check out the soda fountain, try some sodas, and experience this one-of-a-kind hidden gem.