Blackburn’s Emporium adds ‘old timey soda fountain’

Blackburn’s Emporium run by Mitch Blackburn recently had a ribbon cutting for the new “old timey soda fountain that he installed inside of his shop located at the corner of Gilchrist Street and 9th Street. Blackburn is seen cutting the ribbon as Chamber of Commerce members gather around to help him celebrate. Blackburn originally opened May 7, 2020.

WHEATLAND – One of the most eclectic antique and collectible stores in Platte County is located downtown Wheatland on the corner of Gilchrist and 9th streets.

You may find a 1930s German phonograph or perhaps a new set of Cinco de Mayo china made in Mexico. As of two weeks ago, you can now go in, peruse the merchandise that will take you on a trip into yesterday and sit at what Mitch Blackburn calls his “old timey fountain” where you can enjoy a float, a hot dog, a Dr Pepper and snacks.  In the brutally warm summer weather, another great advantage is the icy cool air conditioning.

Blackburn built the soda fountain from all reclaimed wood, antiques and a great imagination.

“I have things yet to add,” Blackburn said. “But this is such a cool place where people can gather, listen to the old vinyl records, sit in a 1950s booth or at the new ‘old timey fountain.’

What you will also find are one-of-a-kind treasures that have stood the test of time and are clean and on display at Blackburn’s Emporium in downtown Wheatland. The emporium which started in the middle of COVID and while a nation was facing quarantine opened against all odds and a year later has found a way to prosper while peddling the memories of an era gone by.

“I asked people to come help us celebrate,” said owner Mitch Blackburn. “They came by, ate a free lunch and got to see some of the new things we have in the shop. Just want them to be able to play some music and hang out. You know, like it was in the olden days.”

The celebration and a ribbon cutting took place after the Platte County Fair parade and lasted until well into the afternoon.

“I also wanted people to know, they were served the beef hot dogs, not the chicken lips dogs,” Blackburn said with a laugh. “It’s a day to kind of give back to the community because we opened up during the pandemic and we’re still here which is thanks to the people of this town. I am very blessed and I am having a lot of fun doing it too.”

The emporium boasts big plate glass windows that are always filled with fun and quirky collectibles, great for peeping and gawking that will hold different displays each month.

The building, which was formerly leased by Stoll Taxidermy until they decided to move a few blocks to the west is currently owned by Dan Brecht who owns The Wandering Hermit Bookstore located next door to the emporium at 875 Gilchrist Street.

“It was just a prime location,” Blackburn said. “The opportunity came around and I had to jump on it because not only is it a great location, but I want to bring things to the community.”

One of the ideas that Blackburn is putting forth is a return to a simpler time. Similar to the idea of cruise nights in Wheatland. A remembering the good old days.

“We don’t want it so crowded that you can’t move around,” Blackburn said. “Just come in and sit down and get on the WIFI, play some games, have a soda and just chit chat.”

Blackburn who has been collecting unique items for years has amassed five full storage units at Arrowhead Storage where he will eventually draw from when things begin to sell in the new shop. He also has since opened another location just down the street on 9th that he opens on weekends with some antiques, but mostly second-hand items.