How about a Fountain Coke ?
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How about a fountain Coke ? That's the old expression for Coca Cola on draught as it were. At Guerin's Pharmacy, 140 South Main Street, Summerville, SC, they still have an original working soda fountain. The unit from which fountain drinks were dispensed roughly resembled the housing of an early 1960's outboard motor. Neither that nor anything in the store is a mock up or some retro marketing gimmick. Guerin's is an ongoing active old fashioned drug store.
We recently wrote about the declining country stores along the back roads and how they seem to have their own distinctive scent. When you walk into Guerin's you know that you're in a real drug store. You must, however, be over forty to have experienced the original scent. When you walk into today's convenience stores or franchise chain pharmacies, all you smell is some sort of masking agent, not really a smell in itself, but a cover up.
Certainly, they can fill the prescriptions for all of those compounds with which we medicate ourselves against modern life, but they also have products which date back many decades that can't be found at the big chain store pharmacies. It isn't a case where such items are no longer made. It is that they don't have mass appeal, they simply don't sell very well so the big stores don't stock them. It is the availability of those obscure, but effective preparations which has nearly passed from the scene as much as the quaintness of traditional soda fountain drug stores which we shall miss.
South Carolina ETV recently made a documentary on such surviving enterprises including Guerin's recently. They had wanted to see how many of these old places had survived. When interviewed, the director expressed shock that so few were still around. Perhaps he doesn't get out much. Anyone who takes the time to look over any community can certify that these places are all, but extinct. We can't preserve many of them much longer and it is certain that we cannot recreate them.
We enjoy the documentaries, but we intend to visit as many of these very special surviving places as we can in the time they have left. We stop often on the road to drop into places like Guerin's. We don't usually need anything, but we always buy some little something or other in return for the pleasure of being there.