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He left a corporate job to open a soda shop, but says it’s worth it to make people smile

Local Business

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Taylor and Cassidy Pebley with their four kids. | Courtesy Taylor Pebley

ISLAND PARK — A new soda shop just opened its doors on the corner of U.S. Highway 20 and Yale Kilgore Road in Island Park.

It’s called The Soda Co., and it’s owned by Taylor and Cassidy Pebley.

The Soda Co. offers a variety of flavored sodas in a limitless number of combinations, along with several flavors of coffee, lattes and hot cocoa. They also offer cookies provided by the Cookie Cottage in Rigby.

Taylor tells one thing that sets them apart from similar businesses is the names of the menu items.

“The fun thing is, a lot of our (flavored sodas) are Island Park specific. We have Mack’s Inn Mango or Henrys’ Paradise,” Taylor says. “We’ve had a lot of people order those because it’s fun for them to associate it with Island Park.”

The location is also a selling point, Taylor says, because it’s the first business of its kind in Island Park.

The shop opened for business Monday in a 12-foot by 20-foot bully barn, and Taylor tells the response, after just one day of business, has been great.

“Locals were very curious and a lot of them were very excited for us to have something new here. But the visitors, those who are traveling especially, have been really excited because they’re used to it. They’re from Utah or southern Idaho where (soda shops) are a big thing,” he says.

Taylor says two-thirds of their customers on opening day were tourists.

The Soda Co. in Island Park. | Courtesy Taylor Pebley

Taylor and Cassidy decided to open a soda shop after reading the book “Psycho Cybernetics,” which is about thinking positive, controlling your future by the way you think and having faith to make your dreams a reality. Taylor was challenged by his former employer to read the book, and after giving a copy to his wife, she suggested putting the concepts of the book into action.

“One day she sent me a text and just said, ‘Hey, we’ve talked about moving to Island Park in the past. We’ve talked about opening our own business. Let’s start a soda shop in Island Park.'”

Taylor and his family moved to Idaho Falls three years ago for a job with Melaleuca. Though it was nice to have a steady paycheck, Taylor says he had always been self-employed and fighting that entrepreneurial bug was a challenge. But when his wife first proposed the idea to open the soda shop, he was apprehensive.

“Before I was always the one pushing to be self-employed and she hated it. So it was kind of funny that the roles were reversed. But after about a week, I made the decision with her and decided, ‘Yeah, let’s do it,” says Taylor.

Taylor resigned from Melaleuca in April and moved his family to Island Park. He has taken trips to Island Park with his family before and says living there is an adventure every day.

“We’re doing this on a lot of faith. We realize the risks…and we just really feel like this could work,” Taylor says.

Soda shops have a proven track record of success wherever they’re located, says Taylor, and seeing customers smile when they receive their order is part of the appeal.

“When we hand them that super sweet drink out the window or a fresh huckleberry cookie and they see the frosting, every single one of them smiles. It’s almost humorous to us and it’s really contagious.”

It’s been a lot of hard work and sleepless nights getting to this point but Taylor says it’s been worth it, and one of the blessings of opening the soda shop is being able to spend time every day with his kids.

“Our 8-year-old girl is just so excited to work here,” Taylor says. “She was in the shop all day yesterday and every time she flashed her smile and waved at a car, (a customer) turned in. We’re excited to see so many people pass through, and to be able to add a little smile to their day.”

The Soda Co. is at 3975 Yale Kilgore Road in Island Park. Its hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.