By Teresa Winchester
GILBERTSVILLE – On July 4, Gilbertsville had more to celebrate than the 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence. It was the day The Village Soda Fountain began serving ice cream in the Gilbert Block.
Recently, Gilbertsville Value Way owner Valerie Jackson moved the handsome mahogany Victorian back bar, long-stationed in the rear of the main store, to an adjacent space and opened an old-fashioned ice cream shop and soda fountain.
According to Jackson, a team of people, including local antique professionals, craftsmen and artisans “lovingly restored” the back bar. Her husband Patrick Rost installed period-style pendant lights as well as the lighting onto the top of the back bar. Large format artist Jay Roth used his metal working skills to reproduce missing hardware.
Team Jackson also accomplished the considerable task of re-installing the back bar’s marble, which literally involved “heavy lifting.”
“Strong, smart people moved six marble panels – two of them weighing 300 to 400 pounds each – upstairs!” said Jackson, noting that the pink and grey Carerra marble had been stored in the basement for 25 years.
The shop’s wooden counter, formerly in Oneonta’s Autumn Café, was donated by Wayne and Rebecca Carrington, new proprietors of the Autumn Café as well as owners of the B-Side Ballroom and Supper Club, also in Oneonta.
Tony Pinotti, decorative painter, helped with retouching the marble.
“Tony did all the ‘faux” stuff,” Jackson said.
Besides being grateful to her reinstallation helpers, Jackson expressed her gratitude to her “fantastic staff” and to her business partner, Laura Wilt, who arrived from California earlier this summer to help run the store.