Royall’s Soda Shoppe has a long and celebrated history as an Elkin landmark, and Trish Riley was prepared to step up when the business’ future was becoming uncertain.
After long-time operators Bob and Suzanne Puckett decided not to renew their lease, several in the community were concerned the historic soda shop would not re-open.
Soon a retired couple, Bob and Rebecca Wood, decided to give running the business a shot. After they decided they weren’t in good enough health to run the business, it became very unclear what the next step would be in order to keep the business open.
That’s where Riley came into play.
“I was enjoying my retirement from Wilkes Community College, and when they had another change at Royall’s, I got a phone call from the owner of Royall’s, Mr. (John) Van Hoy, who is a relative of my husband,” Riley said. “He asked if I could come in and run some things for just a few days and I thought ‘Sure, that’d be fun, I can do that.’”
Now, seven months later, Riley is still running the show at Royall’s.
After serving as the registrar at Surry Community College for 31 years, Riley had no experience with working in the food industry but wanted to make sure Royall’s could continue to have it’s doors open and food coming off the grill.
“You want to see this business succeed and downtown needs it,” Riley said. “I feel privileged to have had this opportunity.”
Riley said some of her desire to step in at Royall’s was due to her own memories of the place, and wanting others to continue having the opportunity to make memories at Royall’s.
“When I was growing up, downtown was booming. When you went to town you came to downtown, and I can remember coming in to Royall’s with my mom and sister. I can also remember making trips here for milkshakes after dentist appointments because the dentist was just right next door,” Riley said.
“There’s so much change in our lives people seem to enjoy coming back to something comfortable and I enjoy being a part of that,” she said.
Name: Trish Riley
Employer: Royall’s Soda Shoppe
How long worked: 7 months
Favorite pastime: Crafts
Favorite sports team: Atlanta Braves
Family: Husband Joel, son Jacob, daughter Rebecca
Born in: Yadkinville
Reach Darcie Dyer at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.