From Saddlery to Tourist Stop: Stockyards Sarsaparilla managed the change in the sweetest possible way

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OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA -- If you want to discuss anything really deep it's always helpful to grab a cold one and head to the nearest bar you can find.

The cold ones, in this case, are root beers and sarsaparillas, and a refreshing fizzy, lemon drink for yours truly, a tough choice among the more than 400 different varieties available at Stockyards Sarsaparilla.

"People also wanted that old time candy and the feel of an old-time candy shop," says manager Jo Weims.

Hard to believe but Weims took the old National Saddlery that moved out in 2008 and, thanks to suggestions from people who still wandered in, turned it into a unique shop for all kinds of visitors.

"We just listened to our customers and tried to go find it, and we try to get it in here, and have it for them the next trip," she states.

The centerpiece of her establishment is the 18 foot long bar Jo found in Philadelphia.

Built around the time of the 1889 Land Run, once owned by Al Capon's mother, of all people, visitors belly up for cold pop now.

Nothing stronger.

"That's a lot of sarsaparilla," chuckles Weims. "Of course they weren't selling sarsaparilla back then."

The saddlery moved across the street but cowboys would still wander in looking for related items so they kept them in stock.

Tourists started wandering through, and what would a tourist place be without its own fudge?

Taryn Jarvis makes all kinds of different flavors to satisfy all the wandering 'fudgies' from other places.

"It's fun to see the transformation in here," she says.

Over most of the past decade Jo found her visitors asking for candy she'd never heard of, that's aside from the taffy.

Bacon is the one flavor she stocks in everything she can find.

"Bacon toothpicks, bacon jelly beans, bacon ketchup," adds Jo.

From one old store to another the proprietors set a high bar and reached it, in a manner of speaking.

They could have left a different kind of empty in here by just leaving it for newer digs, but Jo and Taryn, and anyone else can thankfully raise a glass to good suggestions, and a refreshing way to keep a historic district alive and thriving.

The Stockyards Sarsaparilla is located next to Cattlemen's Steakhouse on Exchange Avenue in Oklahoma City.

For more information go to their page on Facebook at › Places › Oklahoma City, Oklahoma › Candy Store

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