Soda shops were the place to be seen for those growing up in bygone eras – the sort of place where high school kids would hang out after school, or young people would go on a first date. Curtis and Angie Grady are hoping to recreate that atmosphere for today’s sweets-loving crowd at Dottie’s Soda Shop in North Webster.
The shop is named after Angie’s grandmother Dorothy, who had a sweet tooth for old-style candies. Her husband called her Dottie, Curtis Grady says. This name fit in perfectly with the couple’s plans to open a store in their community with old-fashioned sodas, old-style candy and a selection of ice cream. After all, Grady says, nothing beats an ice cream float on a hot summer’s day.
“This combination was a perfect fit for our ideas, and honored Dottie and her family in their sweet traditions and memories,” he says. “We focused in on what could be a great addition to our local communities. We wanted something a bit unique but simple at the same time.”
Making decisions that are best for the community is one of the principles that Grady uses to run his business. A recent book signing, for example, exemplifies the kind of event Dottie’s Soda Shop hopes to be a part of going forward.
“First we would like to thank Candace Valek for the opportunity to have such an event,” Grady says. “Her books are still for sale at KiZa Designs right next door. We feel that events like this can positively impact the community. Similar happenings can get people to come and explore all that North Webster has to offer.”
The shop has been the scene for parties of all kinds already, including birthdays and sports team celebrations. Grady says Dottie’s can accommodate requests for special occasions. Anyone wanting to plan a special event should stop in or contact him via social media to discuss their plans.
The Gradys opened the shop in October, which was not necessarily a good time for an ice cream business. Despite winter, customers found their way to the new shop, and he says business has been “pleasantly good.” Now that spring is here, the owners are ready to welcome hungry customers into the store with the warmer weather.
Dottie’s serves Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, a premium ice cream made in Madison, Wisconsin. The dairy state is bound to deliver a high-quality ice cream, Grady says. Customers can select from 12 flavors of ice cream that vary by season, along with favorites like vanilla, chocolate and butter pecan.
The old-fashioned sodas are made the traditional way, by hand-mixing syrups with carbonated water from a tap, to achieve what Grady calls “refreshing perfection.”
The menu board in the shop lists a variety of soda options, from the iconic Green River flavor to traditional ones such as Vanilla and Cherry Coke, and even something younger generations may associate with a certain popular literature series – Butter Beer. There are also shakes, floats, malts, and waffle cone ice cream nachos.
Further indulge a sweet tooth with candy. You can pick your favorite penny candy from the clear glass jars on display. Other candy selections are available too.
The shop is decorated with a nod to the past, with wood and black-and-white checkerboard tiled floors. The red and chrome decor evokes memories of the 1950s, and this is part of the experience the Gradys want their customers to have.
“We hope that customers have a simply sweet experience,” he says. “We hope that they enjoy themselves by soaking in the atmosphere and relaxing, indulging with a sweet treat.”
Grady says he is working on plans to add items to the menu and updating the shop.
Dottie’s Soda Shop is located at 114 North Main Street in North Webster. Hours vary by the season. For hours of operation, more information, and notices of special events and offers, or to contact the Gradys, visit their Facebook page.