The 1950s beckoned, so I bought a drug store

The 1950s beckoned, so I bought a drug store

Monday, July 14 2014

Dear Grandma & Grandpa,

I hope y’all are good up there in Heaven. We are doing pretty dang good down here in Dallas. I have some exciting news to share with y’all! Susan and I bought an old, historic drug store/soda fountain in our hometown of Irving, Texas.

Both of us have lived in Irving all our miserable, I mean, all our lives. It was formerly called Big State Drug and we changed the name to Big State Fountain Grill. Big State opened in Irving in 1948. As you know, I’m born and raised here in Irving and Susan is actually a fifth-generation Irvingite! Her great-great grandpa was one of the original Irving pioneers. Big State has always been a drug store with a soda fountain inside. Well, we are getting rid of the drug store part of it. If people want band aids & dental floss they’ll have to go somewhere else, like CVS.

Sue & I have been eating at Big State once a week for many years. When we heard that they were closing the joint after 66 years, we started asking some questions. We talked to the owner and he said that because of Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare, he couldn’t make a living anymore with the pharmacy. We didn’t care about the pharmacy, but we love the soda fountain part of the business so much that we bought the joint!

It’s gonna be really cool. We are doubling the size of the soda fountain & grill. We are adding a candy shop, shaved ice, root beer on tap and more ice cream varieties. We will also serve several different types of gourmet coffee. Big State will also be a gift shop and a greeting card shop.

In the 1950’s Big State was the hangout for all the young people here in Irving. My dad said that everybody would meet there after school. They would play the jukebox, drink milk shakes & eat hamburgers. Mom said the same thing, it was their hangout. Ma used to take me and Ran in there when we were kids and we continued to go there for more than 50 years. I bought an old Wurlitzer jukebox that I am loading with 1950’s music, stuff like Buddy Holly, Hank Williams, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Johnny Cash, Little Richard, Ray Charles and Elvis.

Even though Big State is an old, historic business, you couldn’t tell it from the decor of the place. We are changing all that. Our new Big State Fountain Grill will be loaded with lots of memorabilia and pictures showing the history of Irving. When people walk into Big State, they will be walking straight back into the 1950s! That’s going back a whole other decade for me. I’ve been stuck in the 1960s most of my life, so now I’ll dial it back to cover the 50’s AND 60’s! It’s gonna be so cool, and Susan and I are VERY excited about Big State. Heck, the whole dang town of Irving is excited. I can’t tell you how many people have thanked me and Sue for saving our historic Big State from being just another lost Irving memory! We even had lunch with the Irving Mayor, Beth Van Duyne, who, incidentally is not only a beautiful woman (Google her) she also graduated from Cornell University!   

Anyway, now that we are doing construction at Big State, my standard schedule of 15 hours a day, 8 days a week, has grown to 18 hours a day, 8 days a week. But this is a decision that Sue and I made with our hearts and not our heads. Oh well, I’ve been making decisions with my heart and not my head for years, and so far they have (mostly) worked out! There was that one time when I was a young man and I bought 3,000 Swiss army knives. I was sure that I could sell them for a couple of bucks more than I bought ‘em for. Well, that didn’t work out in my favor. I know, Sue was right. Sorry honey!

In other news, the motorcycle business is still not where it should be. It’s getting better, but it’s a slow turnaround. I thank God that I made the decision years ago to diversify my businesses and not just be a motorcycle shop or just another bar. My brother Randy told me a few years ago that bars come and go, and they usually last 3-5 years. He’s right, I have seen a ton of bars open up with the intent of taking my business away from me, and I have seen those bars fail, one after the other. Sure, they may shine for a little while, but they always burn out while ole RF is just here working, day after day, year after year for more than 18 years! Oh well, this is America, and they have the right to lose their money just like the rest of us!

I’ve been meaning to ask, when you’re in Heaven, do you ever get a furlough to maybe come down here to earth and hangout with us goofballs? Maybe even go back in time? That would be cool. If that were possible I know some things that I’d do. I’d go back to hang out with Marilyn Monroe and I’d protect her from all the evils of the world that tormented her throughout her short life. She was like a beautiful poem recited by a giggling school girl. I’d protect her from all them bad people like them dang Kennedys! I still think they had something to do with her death. I’d also like to go back in time and find some of the girls that wouldn’t go out with me in high school. I’d buy them a drink then I might accidently puke on their dress. Ya know, cool stuff like that would be fun!  

So, I better go for now, it’s raining today so we’re kinda slow like we always are when it stinking rains. Rain absolutely ruins our sales in the motorcycle business. I know we need it, but can we limit the rain to Monday and Tuesday?

I love y’all.

Rickey

Rick Fairless is the owner of Strokers Dallas, Strokers Icehouse, Strokers Ink, RF Custom Parts and now, Big State Fountain Grill.

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