After a more than two-year hiatus, the Waltz Soda Fountain in downtown Damariscotta reopened to local enthusiasm on Monday, July 4.
“The feedback from the community has been great,” said owner Dean Jacobs on Tuesday, July 12. He added that he has had multiple interactions with year-round residents and summer residents, all of whom profess that the soda fountain is a part of their regular routine.
Dean Jacobs owns the business with his sister Christie Jacobs. The siblings inherited the business from their parents, Jo-Ann (Waltz) Jacobs and the pharmacist Winton “Winty” Jacobs, when the Waltz Pharmacy closed in 2011.
Perley Waltz, a pharmacist, started the business and operated the pharmacy and soda fountain for over 50 years. His daughter, Jo-Ann, who grew up in Waldoboro, was his first employee when she started working there at 16.
In December 2012, renovations were undertaken and Renys Underground expanded into the space formerly occupied by the pharmacy. The soda fountain reopened in May 2013 with an expanded menu, before closing in March 2020.
Dean’s son, Christopher Jacobs, became the fourth generation of the family to work the counter when he started this year. The 13-year-old said on Monday, July 11 that it’s nice working at the family business, especially for his first job.
The lunch menu is a little slimmer now, offering only hot dogs, chips, and chicken salad sandwiches. Dean Jacobs said he wants the soda fountain to focus more on ice cream now, but he suspects a grilled cheese will be added to the menu in the future.
The Waltz Soda Fountain had to close its doors in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and waited until this month to reopen, now that COVID-19 seems to be receding in Maine, Jacobs said.
Kimberly Waggoner is the new face behind the counter at the Waltz Soda Fountain. The owners recruited her to run the fountain for the summer and Waggoner moved up from Starkville, Miss., where she was attending Mississippi State University for aerospace engineering and working in food service.
“It sounds a lot better than waiting tables in Starkville,” Waggoner said of her rationale for moving to Maine for the summer.
There are some changes for this year. Juices and smoothies are no longer offered, and the shop is opening a little later than its previous incarnation, at 11 a.m.
The business is looking to hire new employees, Waggoner said.
The Waltz Soda Fountain, at 167 Main St. in Damariscotta, is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday through Monday. It is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
For more information, call 563-7632.