Kathy Joy La Plante is the owner and operator of La Plante's Soft Drink Specialists, LLC. This is her story.
Why gourmet root beer, vintage-style soda, and gourmet popcorn? Simply put, I love them! As a child growing up in the 50s, my family was military and strictly Catholic. We neither had a lot of money or freedom to buy “luxury” items. We never had "store-bought" (as my relatives in Indiana put it) desserts or snacks on a regular basis. Our biggest treat was getting a dollar from my grandfather, Poppy to me, so we could go down to the corner drug store and buy an entire small paper bag full of penny candy. What a treat!
One of my fondest memories is of going to the movies and getting popcorn and coke. This is still one of my greatest pleasures. Can’t watch a movie without these snacks! At home as a child, the only snack we could have was hot buttered popcorn that my mother made on Friday nights. She used an old beat-up pot with charred popcorn kernels at the bottom. She lovingly put those pipping hot kernels into an equally beat-up but beloved ‘popcorn pan’ (named by me and my 5 siblings) and we each got to dip our individual small plastic Tupperware bowl in as many times as the popcorn would last. Along with the delicious popcorn, we each got to have a soda from the six-pack my mother bought earlier that day.
As I’ve gotten older, I stopped drinking corn-syrup soft drinks. But several years ago, I stumbled upon a store in Redmond, Washington called The Root Beer Store. I walked in out of curiosity and as soon as I stepped across the threshold, I was transported back to those happy, nostalgic moments of my childhood. There was an old-time popcorn maker in the back of the store. I took in that warm fragrance as I looked at the dozens of varieties of small-batch root beer, cream soda, and other vintage-style sodas that were on display. It just made me smile. Then and there I decided I wanted to help others experience that same kind of joy.
I am a retired civil servant and veteran. I worked very hard all my life serving others and it was both my duty and my honor. Today, I am still serving people but in a way that is very fun and fulfilling for me. I offer gourmet, hand-crafted, small batch, high-quality natural-ingredient drinks and family-friendly snacks out of the “joy-mobile.” Keep an eye out. We might be showing up at an event near you. See you soon!