Shoo-Fly Soda Shop prepping to re-open after ‘miracle’ fire save
If there could be such a thing as a miracle fire, the owners of Shoo-Fly Soda Shop in Glen Rose may have experienced it.
Owners Jerry and Tammie Stone have been working to reopen their old-fashioned soda shop and boutique ever since a mid-day fire on Aug. 3 that erupted from a spark in an electrical outlet near the back of the building.
Jerry Stone was in the shop along with their 14-year-old grandson, Brooks Stone, when they detected an odor that definitely wasn’t emanating from any of the goodies they sell in their 1950s-style business.
“We knew something was going on electrically,” Jerry said, adding that they had noticed the lights in the drink cooler had just gone out. “We smelled something burning.”
He walked to the boutique area in back, and on his return to the front he noticed a sort of “glow” to his right, near floor level. An outlet was on fire apparently caused by an electrical arc, they learned later.
Jerry rushed to grab the store’s fire extinguisher, which he used to put out the fire — he thought.
After having the presence of mind to immediately shut off the electrical breakers, the fire erupted again. With the small fire extinguisher almost out of its powdery ammunition, he splashed a bucket of water from a nearby sink on the still-manageable blaze. He opened up the back door to let smoke escape.
But the fire flared up for a third time, and another bucket of water did the job — finally — before they had time to call 9-1-1.
It started at 12:20 p.m., and was all over within a period of just two to three minutes, Jerry said.
“There was no structural damage, other than sheetrock,” Jerry noted, adding that he didn’t feel in danger while putting out the fire. “It was pretty nerve-racking. I knew what to do. I just didn’t know if I could get it done fast enough. In the boutique, it was hard to breathe, and hard to see (after the flames were put out). With the clothing in here, it could have been a disaster. Even though it was a bad situation, we got a lot of lucky breaks.”
If not for his quick action — and the fact that it didn’t happen in the middle of the night with no one around — it could have turned into a devastating incident, for Shoo-Fly as well as other businesses on that side of the historic downtown square.
“It could have been a whole lot worse,” Tammie said. “The fire marshal said it was a miracle.”
Tammie was actually on the phone with Jerry at the moment he spotted the fire, so she rushed to the shop.
“If it had happened at night, it would have been devastating to us, the Pie Peddler and Blackie’s on the Square because we share the same roof,” Jerry said.
The Somervell County Fire Department arrived and used thermal inspection techniques to make sure there were no remaining hot spots inside the walls.
“They did a great job. They were here quick,” Jerry said. “They were informative about what they found. They have repaired the problem, according to (city) code.”
A relatively small area on the wall was damaged, but the residue from the fire extinguisher on some of the merchandise will have to be cleaned up before the store is ready to re-open.
They are using the down time to do touch-up painting here and there, along with a taking inventory.
“We’ve still got a lot of cleaning to do,” Tammie said. “It’s a longer process than we ever thought it would be.”
They are hoping to be ready to open the doors to customers in time for the Aug. 22 special shopping weekend being promoted for the downtown retail stores in Glen Rose.
“We’re shooting for (re-opening) around the 22nd. The square is having a sale that day,” Tammie explained. “We want to make sure everything is safe for our customers.”
The Stones have owned and operated Shoo-Fly since July 1, 2017, at 102 Walnut St. on the downtown square in Glen Rose. The popular shop’s re-opening will be a welcome event for those already familiar with what it offers.
The atmosphere created by 1950s music playing is reinforced with the presence of a vintage soda counter and, of course, a classic soda fountain and vintage Coca-Cola dispenser.
“Our motto is ‘Step back in time.’ We want people to feel like they’re in the olden days,” Tammie said. “People like to revisit a simpler time. Especially for seniors, it brings back some good memories. People used to take time to get to know people. Now, there’s no personal connection.”
Along with the clothing in the boutique, the Stones offer old-fashioned toys, plus a wide variety of items including candles and food such as salsa, preserves and cheese dip, mostly made in Texas.
Of course, the soda fountain and the store’s “sock-hop concessions” are a huge draw especially for those more seasoned folks who come searching for that atmosphere.
It features Blue Bell ice cream with store-made waffle cones, hand-stirred ice cream sodas plus a variety of shakes and malts, sundaes and banana splits with multiple toppings to choose from. Customers can also buy grilled cheese sandwiches, Ruebens and several types of salads.
Once the shop re-opens, the Stones hope to resume their regular business hours, seven days a week — 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and noon-6 p.m. on Sunday.