In a corner of the new Chemainus Public Market, it’s like stepping back into a bygone era.
The scene is reminiscent of the inside set of Arnold’s Drive-In on Happy Days or similar malt shops of the past.
Archie’s Ice Cream Parlour and Diner has been garnering plenty of attention since it opened for the unique design and the wonderful memories it generates for some and the wonder it creates for the younger generation.
“We are selling ice cream like crazy,” said Market manager Laurie Douglas. “Milkshakes are flying out. We’ve got popcorn and hot dogs and something new in the hot case every day for snacks.
“People are loving the retro feel. They love to sit in the chairs. They love playing the tunes.”
The concept was devised by Market owner Warren Goulding and his partner in the project Tony van de Mortel of Mortel Development Co.
The authentic looking booth seats were one of the first items acquired for the market.
“We located them in Vancouver,” said Goulding. “They’d been in a restaurant for quite a few years. They were in pretty good shape so we grabbed them. They were the perfect ’50s motif we were looking for.”
Van de Mortel’s magic touch is evident in the entire renovation of the market, with many contractors. Creating the space for Archie’s was a labour of love for Goulding and van de Mortel.
“Tony and I put our heads together,” noted Goulding. “We tried to figure out how much space we were allowed. The space worked out quite well.”
Their vision is capturing the imagination primarily of locals right now with the COVID-19 pandemic restricting travel, but sure to be a popular tourist stop in the future. Adding to the mystique of any 1950s ice cream parlour or soda shop is the jukebox.
Archie’s boasts a 1962 Rock-ola loaded with 60 pre-British invasion 45s (those are vinyl records, young folks) from artists such as Chuck Berry, Neil Sedaka and, of course, Elvis Presley. Goulding acquired it from (Jukebox) Ron Bergstrom in Saskatoon last September to be placed in the diner.
“It’s his hobby,” said Goulding. “He buys them and completely refurbishes them.”
He knew the jukebox was from the right era and in great shape so he jumped at the chance to purchase it.
It’s a great looking piece and the entire diner is a throwback to a fun time.