Lessons learned from a Highland Park merchant’s passion for soda pop

When author Robert Spector was working on his book on the state of independent retailing in America, his research for The Mom & Pop Store lead him to Highland Park and Galco’s Soda Pop Shop. Here, on York Boulevard, owner John Nese has transformed his family’s established but struggling grocery story into a well known purveyor of soda pop. The aisles are stocked with more than 500 brands and flavors of new micro brews and classic favorites. It was Nese’s passion for his business and customers that impressed Spector, who will be at Galco’s today for a book signing and discussion. With such a huge soda selection, however, asking Nese to make a recommendation can get a bit complicated, according to Spector:

“When a customer asks him, for example, for the best root beer, Nese will tell them that, “That decision is yours. We have forty-two of them. Where do you want to begin? I have one that’s the driest and the highest carbonated, and I have one that is the creamiest, and everything else falls in between. They are all seasoned differently. Some have licorice in them, and some have vanilla, and some are this or that. What do you want?”

The book signing and discussion begins at 12 P.M. Check Save the Date for other Eastside events today.

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