The Sweet Shop by Stewart McLaren

The Sweet Shop was a fixture of the Arcola downtown for a number of years in the middle of the 20th century. The shop, located near the corner of Main and Locust Street, displayed a vintage Coke sign hanging on the front to identify the local hangout for the teenagers of the baby boom generation. Teenagers would congregate there to enjoy a Green River from the soda fountain, enjoy a hamburger and to dance to the tunes that came out of the juke box. The last record played in the late 60s, as the location was sold to the Yoder family and became the Dutch Kitchen.  

Stewart McLaren made the journey to Arcola from Scotland to serve as the project leader for the Sweet Shop. After a stint in the merchant navy, Stewart was working back home in the bar at his family’s hotel when a customer needed to find someone to paint a new sign. Stewart had done a few signs in the merchant navy, so he stepped up to paint the sign. Now nearly 30 years later, Stewart is still painting. Stewart came to the Walldogs through the Letterhead group after hosting two events in Scotland for the Letterhead group.