Today was a great day!  I left for work around 11:30am and halfway there I get a phone call from my buddy Justin.  It turned out that he was in town for the weekend and looking for something to do.  So I played a little hooky and made a detour into downtown LA to pick him up.  We decided to go pick up a little lunch at Galcos.



Galcos is a nice sized market in Highland Park where the owner, John Nese, stocks over 500 brands of soda.  Not only that, he can tell you anything you ever  wanted to know about each and every soda.  He has a passion for soda (and other sweet things) that becomes apparent almost immediately.
When you walk in you are greeted with a sign that says “Freedom of Choice” and that is very much John’s motto.  As much as he loves soda he is equally passionate about supporting small business and combatting the big corporations that steal shelve-space from the little guys.
He looks around his shop and points out that every bottle and candy wrapper represents a human being or a family.  And they all tell a different story.



I was introduced to this amazing place from a post left on the monome forums oddly enough.  It linked me to this wonderful short documentary on John and Galcos and it really blew me away.  I was floored by the amount of variety and I was delighted to learn that he wasn’t that far away from where I lived.



So, Justin and I were lucky enough to follow John around recording him as he told us the many stories behind the bottles in his shop.



Be sure to give yourself some time to listen to the interview below.  I have broken it up into three parts because it turned out to be so charming that I decided to just include all of it.



Part 1 is a trip down just one of the soda aisles:  Listen as John goes from bottle to bottle and describes the unique qualities and personal stories behind each drink.  (24mins)


Part 2 is the candy aisle:  Listen as John provides similar commentary about the amazing array of candies that he stocks and the people behind them.  (9mins)


Finally, Part 3 is some final thoughts as we diverge from sodas into broader topics of importnace.  (12mins)



Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

3 Replies to “Day 057 / Freedom of Choice

  1. justin

    this was such a fun afternoon. any one who likes soda at all will love this place and you should talk to John while your there. he’s just an amazing person who want’s to keep the mom and pop stores open so america doesn’t look like an i pod commercial.

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