White walls, a blue-coloured curved counter complete with stools, and a rainbow of syrups in glass bottles sit behind the doors of a sweet new business in Burnaby Heights.
After stepping into the 1940s-inspired shop and pouring over the menu offering malts, milkshakes, egg creams, retro candy, sundaes and more, with local twists, it'll be hard to remember what year it is after leaving.
Glenburn Soda Fountain and Confectionary is opening its doors Tuesday after six months of hard work upgrading the former convenience store site, which the owners described as an extreme makeover.
Burnaby locals Ron and Roberta LaQuaglia spent half of the last year researching potential menu items far and wide, looking for locally made products to serve and experimenting with different flavours, ice creams and syrups for delicious yet simple creations.
Last September, the LaQuaglias decided to open up their own shop in The Heights since there are not many dessert places open at night for people to meet up in - and Ron grew up in a family that believed it was perfectly all right to eat ice cream all year round as a treat.
"Six months ago, we stumbled across stories of old soda fountain style and ice cream shops starting up," Ron explained. "Some are going super traditional, by the book and some are influenced by different things.
"We want to educate people a little bit, that it's ok to have ice cream in the summer or to go in the snow or rain."
The idea then sparked months of hard work in preparation to open up the "nostalgic bar" sprinkled with some good luck finds that are now centrepieces in the new shop.
One of the staples in the shop is the 1931 Walrus soda fountain, which will aid the LaQuaglias in serving their homemade soda paired with their locally acquired syrup flavours such as coffee, ginger, cherry, vanilla, lime, green apple, sarsaparilla and much more.
"We found it early on in the process," Ron said. "Everything on it is perfect. The taps, pumps ... we only had to update the machine parts.
"The soda taps are really the icing on the cake for us."
The homemade soda simply mixes the carbonated water from the soda fountain that's poured into a cup filled with any combination of syrup the customer can imagine, according to Ron and Roberta.
The syrup in their shop is from Whistler's own Frostbites and another B.C.-based company, Organic Fair.
Roberta said the quest to serve as much locally grown or produced food as possible came naturally as she works full time with Vancouver Farmers' Market.
The hazelnuts are grown in Agassiz, the ice cream is from Birchwood Dairy in Abbotsford and the other desserts, such as the pies, will be supplied by Vancouver's Pie Hole.
"We want people to remember how things once were ... and they can bring their grandkids and tell them how they remember it," she said.
It's not just Ron and Roberta helping with the family business, either.
The couple has an eight-year-old daughter and five-year-old son who have been keen to help their parents any way they can.
"They were handing out our business cards out front," Roberta said. "If my parents were opening up an ice cream shop I would have thought I was the luckiest kid in the world."
"They're telling all their friends at school about our shop too."
The shop will be available for counter parties, ice cream socials and can be rented out for special events where people can celebrate and experiment with their own sundaes.
The menu is a work in progress and will list seasonal treats. Roberta said everything that didn't make it on the current menu will eventually pop up as specials.
"Pretty much everything is gluten free," Roberta added. "If people are lactose-intolerant then they can enjoy one of our sodas."
Ron says his favourite item offered is the egg cream, which is a frothy chocolate milk drink.
"People think it has egg in it, but it doesn't," he noted. "It's made with Fox's u-bet chocolates syrup - we imported it."
The classic drink has a layer of chocolate syrup at the bottom, then milk is poured in and it's all topped with seltzer that makes it go fizzy.
"It's served with a pretzel rod for a sweet and salty taste," Roberta added.
Ron and Roberta got the name for their ice cream and soda parlour from an old business that used to be on Hastings Street and Boundary Road called Glenburn Dairy, which the couple say was in operation from the 1930s to the 1950s.
"We also named it after them because of how much they supported the community," Ron said. "They had a nice connection with their neighbours and that is what we wanted to do here. So, it was fitting."
So if the mood strikes for a caramel pecan fudge or French cherry ripple sundae with a cherry on top, head over to Glenburn at 4090 Hastings St.
"We're hoping when people step in they feel transformed and transported back in time," Ron said. "That's kind of what we're looking for."
For more information visit www.glenburnsoda.com or "like" their Facebook page.