Sugar Shack: Gone but not forgotten

Marlys Good

Where did it all go? For 17 years Sherrie Asp Winkler lived her dream of “owning an old-fashioned soda fountain.”

Her dream became reality in 2000 when she moved her small ice-cream shop, then housed in the back of the building now occupied by Beijing Gardens, across the street to a historic brick building. The Sugar Shack quickly became not just a soda shop that served Tournament Queens, Green Rivers, Cherry Cokes and old-fashioned milk shakes and malts. It became a favorite gathering place for businessmen, retirees and friends to enjoy coffee with friends. Each man (or woman) had his very own cup on the shelf, and either Sherry or her sister and right-hand man Margo Asp Cannady would have the cup filled and ready and waiting at the table. 

Over time the Sugar Shack became a “museum” with countless items of high school memorabilia that drew GHS grads and Greybull natives who had moved to far-away places back again and again. 

The walls held letter-sweaters, a majorette uniform, poodle skirts, all the high school banners that used to hang on the walls of the “old” Greybull High School gymnasium.

She and Margo also took the old high school trophies that had come to them literally in pieces, painstakingly put them back together and put them on display.

Boxes of junior high banners, given to them by the late Del Edeler, also held places of honors in the shop, as did vintage GJHS basketball uniforms, red and white Dinosaur ones (1928-1964).

There was even a junior high school cheerleader’s uniform from the early 1960s – a red pinafore and white blouse. There was also a very treasured trophy, won in 1932 by the Greybull Panthers who won the Big Horn Basin championship. It is dear to Sherrie – her dad, Herb Asp, was a member of that team.

The old-fashioned soda fountain became a favorite of alumni returning for reunions, or just to visit family. Many classes held reunions right in the shop and even danced to music from the jukebox (there was a treasure trove of records/CDs from the 1950s and ‘60s). 

Sherrie and Margo had “home-grown” help, employing not only their children, but also their grandchildren. They are all grown up now, Margo passed away and in 2017, Sherrie leased her shop. Some of the memorabilia remained, but some was taken down and stacked in boxes in the back room.

In 2020, Sherrie leased the building to Rob and Deanna Skillman who established Bob’s Diner and Bakery, and Sherrie began the slow process of going through all the “historic” items she had.

The letter-sweaters went back to the alumna who donated them; she took the high school banners and refurbished trophies to the Greybull superintendent of schools and asked him if the school would like to have them. Her only caveat was that they should be displayed SOMEWHERE — preferably, if possible, on the walls of the gymnasium that they had called home for years.

There were photos and CDs of music by the GHS band, under the baton of director Charles Rutherford, when it boasted over 100 members and was known as one of the outstanding bands in not only Wyoming, but surrounding states as well. GHS grad John Madsen had made the CDs for the Rutherford reunion.

Sherry boxed the uniforms, the Rutherford poster and CDs and shipped them to Charles and Carol Rutherford‘s only child, daughter Ann Rutherford Morrison, who was thrilled to receive them. She had no mementos of her parents’ life in Greybull.

As for the Greybull Junior High School basketball unforms?

Some years before, a young man came into the Sugar Shack, was intrigued by the red and white uniforms and told Sherrie that if she ever wanted to “get rid of them” he would be interested.

Sherrie remembered the incident and recalled she had taken down the man’s name and phone number. Took some time to find where she had stashed it, but she called the number, wondering after six years it the man would still be there. 

He was not only there, he answered. Turned out the interested party was GHS grad Erik Kvale. 

“He lives up Shell,” Sherrie said, amazed at how it all turned out.

There are still some mementos Sherrie will keep. In fact she still has the Sugar Shack and scrapbooks filled with newspaper articles about GHS grads as well as countless pictures.

The Sugar Shack also had a “license plate” tree that took front and center for a long time. And there were other mementos of the town itself. Priceless for the story each told. 

Recalling her years as owner of The Sugar Shack will still bring tears to Sherrie’s eyes, and she admits that it took her quite a while to go into Bob’s Diner and Bakery because of all the happy memories she holds in her heart.

But she is taken with the new leasers, has praise for what they have done and, Sunday, she and a friend were spotted enjoying a delicious breakfast.

Can’t help but wonder if she looked for that old jukebox, or could still hear the echo of laughter from friends enjoying time spent in her old-fashioned soda fountain.