Local soda fountain to be featured in "Southern Living"

Mar 14, 2012

The well-known magazine “Southern Living” is doing a story about a Tallahassee business.  Tom Flanigan reports the feature spread should appear sometime this summer…

It’s three in the afternoon and students from northeast Tallahassee’s Gilchrist Elementary School have made a beeline for the nearby Lofty Pursuits soda fountain…Candymaker Wes Raley is wowing his young audience as he expertly rolls and stretches a gooey mass of semi-molten sugar.   Someone else is also watching the action and snapping photos all the while.  She’s Shelly Strazis, a freelance photographer.  Today, she lives in California, but her family home is in Florida and she went to Florida State University.

“A lot of times when I come home to visit my mom in Orlando, I’ll contact some of my clients in the area and let them know that I’ll be around.  So I contacted them and they asked me if I wanted to come to Tallahassee and shoot a soda fountain.”

Strazis’s client for this assignment is Southern Living Magazine.  For Lofty Pursuits founder and owner Greg Cohn, this is a huge promotional opportunity.

“I think this is the biggest yet.  This is a travel publication specifically for the southern region of the United States.”

Why did Southern Living pick Cohn’s soda fountain for a feature spread?

“Because of our amazing sodas.  They’re going to concentrate on the sodas, but they’ve also been taking shots of the candy making and the other stuff and the kids and everything else and sometime this summer in Southern Living there will be an article about Lofty Pursuits bringing more attention to Tallahassee here.”

And, to bring more attention to not only his store, but other old-style soda fountains around the country, Cohn has declared this Thursday “National Egg Cream Day.”  It’s named after a delicacy, containing neither egg nor cream, that used to be a soda fountain staple….

“It uses chocolate syrup, traditionally a brand called ‘Ubett’ that’s still made in Brooklyn and I bring it in by the gallon from Brooklyn.   It has milk in it.  We use ‘Ocheesy’ milk, which is local.  We have to use whole milk for the fat content - and we use this pasteurized, but not homogenized milk, which makes a much better egg cream – and seltzer water and you get a thick, white head that’s a little bitter over a sweet chocolate drink and it’s spectacular.”

Photographer Strazis says all the tempting goodies were making it tough for her to keep her mind on the job at hand…

“I haven’t had a soda yet.  I think it’s pretty amazing.  I like the history, I like the candy making.  If I lived back in Tallahassee, I’d probably be forty pounds heavier.”

So be on the lookout for the Southern Living piece on Lofty Pursuits.  And here’s hoping you have a happy “National Egg Cream Day.”