Going to Bevmo is a treat, but no other beverage store in Los Angeles has as much character and history as Galco’s Soda Pop Stop. Located at 5702 York Blvd near Mt. Washington, Galco’s Soda Pop Stop was once a grocery store specializing in Italian food and sandwiches. Today, the store still contains and runs its deli and serves Blockbuster sandwiches.
Growing up, John F. Nese’s family herded goats in Chavez Ravine before having to move from the construction of Dodger Stadium. Nese became passionate about soda when he learned about the soda making process while visiting the soda bottling factory of a family friend in the 50s.
Later, while running Galco’s Old World Grocery — which offered unique Italian goods to the community — Nese experienced being locked out of soda distribution chains by larger retailers. When Pepsi offered prices Nese could not afford, he decided to start carrying smaller soda brands. What once started out as a soda endeavor involving 25 brands grew into the Galco’s Soda Pop Stop, which today carries more than 400 soda flavors.
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Many customers are initially stressed when facing the task of picking out just a few of Galco’s wide inventory of sodas. The possibilities are endless. However, once acquainted with the store, the great thing about Galco’s is that you have a choice between your favorite flavors, unique and wild flavors, and international brands. Just to name a few flavors, believe it or not, Galco’s offers butterscotch, birch, chocolate, cucumber, dandelion, caramel, honey, guava, lavender, mint julep, passionfruit, mandarin, mango, peach, rhubarb, rose, strawberry, tamarind, pineapple, vanilla, and more.
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Types of sodas on the shelves include coffee, egg cream, brews, sarsaparillas, ginger soda, diet sodas, kosher sodas, root beers, and non-carbonated sodas. If you can’t choose a soda, you can let loose on the Soda Creation Station. Customers mix creations into bottles from an assortment of 100 cane sugar syrups, which are mixed with carbonated water. You can also shop online, but note that the minimum order is 6 sodas.
Galco’s does soda in a big way, but it isn’t the only product or opportunity that the store has to offer. In addition to soda, the store houses 600 forms of beer within 10 cold cases. Besides the craft beer from around the country and the world, Nese stocks his shelves with options for everyone, like champagne, cider, mead, sake, wine, and artisanal waters.
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If you stop in to Galco’s Soda Pop Stop, be sure to check out the retro and vintage candy and toys. Show your family and friends the products you grew up loving, or find something new to take home.
About Mt. Washington: Mt. Washington is located in the San Rafael Hills in the Northeast region of the city of Los Angeles and was founded in 1909. It is known as home to Eldred Street (one of the steepest streets in the nation), the Southwest Museum, and the Headquarters of the Self-Realization Fellowship.
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