Main Street shop living in the 40s


[su_divider top=”no” size=”4″ margin=”45″]Emily Miller[/su_divider]

Cassie Kibens | LUTV
May 4, 2016 ; 3 p.m.

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Little O’s Soda Shop features equipment from the 1940s. Phosphates are one of the old school drinks made with that equipment.
Photo by Cassie Kibens

Little O’s Soda Shop on Main Street in St. Charles City is taking its customers back to the 1940s by selling old school soda fountain drinks and candy.

The shop was opened four years ago by Brent Ozenkoski and his wife Christi in order to bring back some of the 40s soda shop thrills.

“I just love the old school days,” Brent Ozenkoski said. “A simpler time back then. Things were slower pace, easier going life. People had it right the original times.”

It was common to find a soda shop in many U.S. towns, said Ozenkoski. And he thought Main Street needed that type of place.

Phosphates are one of the main things Little O’s is known for. A phosphate is simply carbonated water and flavored syrups. The person making the drink has to know a thing or two when it comes to whipping up a phosphate. They’re called soda jerks, because they have to jerk the handle of the carbonated water faucet back and forth in order to mix up the drink.

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Jill and Henry Bischof enjoy their root beer float and Superman ice cream. Henry asks his mom to stop by the shop whenever they are on Main Street.
Photo by Cassie Kibens

“Yeah, and that’s my title,” Grant Krull, Little O’s Soda Shop employee said. “I’m a soda jerk. It’s great to get to come in and say I get to be a jerk for work.”

Grant has been working at the soda shop for several months and says his favorite thing is the root beer. He will not drink one anywhere else.

Ozenkoski does love the simpler times, and he appreciates them even more when he gets a customer who can be transported back in time as well.

“My favorite time is when there’s a gentleman here, he goes, ‘I haven’t had a lime soda since I was a kid.’ And watching him take a sip of that lime soda and watching him turn into a seven year old again. A 70 year old man turn into a seven year old is just amazing,” Ozenkoski said.

The younger generations are even embracing the classic soda shop feel. Henry and his mother Jill stop by the shop to get Henry a scoop of his favorite ice cream. He usually goes for the Superman, a blend of colorful flavors.

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Old bottles and soda barrels.
Photo by Cassie Kibens

“When we come to Main Street he always asks to stop and have ice cream,” Jill Bischof said. Her young son Henry added, “Cuz they have good ice cream here.”

Generations may change but Little O’s Soda Shop’s mission stays the same.

“It puts you in a place where it’s a much simpler time,” Krull said. “When you didn’t have to go through such complicated processes. Everything is from scratch, by hand, just the way it should be.”