Vintage ‘soda shoppe’ set to open in downtown Hartford’s Pratt Street Historic District

A soda bar featuring old-fashioned floats, sweets and milkshakes is expected to open this summer in downtown Hartford.

Emrey’s Specialty Sweets & Sodas is a vintage candy shop modeled after the “soda shops” of the mid-20th century.

Owner Melissa Melonson plans to open the business at 196 Trumbull St., in a space previously occupied by FedEx before sitting vacant for years.

“Emrey’s” is a combination of the names of Melonson’s daughters, Emmi, 4, and Aubrey, 11.

The menu will feature flavored soda floats and milkshakes, including a cold-pressed watermelon soda float, a banana foster’s “extreme milkshake” and a blueberry cream soda float. Other treats include hard candies and lollipops.

Family-owned Emrey’s Specialty Sweets and Sodas will also feature gifts and other merchandise, and a pink photo booth.

The shop, which is under construction, will have vintage decor with a modern twist. It’s expected to open in August.

Property owners Shelbourne and Lexington Partners received funds through the HartLift Program to help with the cost of renovations.

The building is part of the Pratt Street Historic District, which has undergone a revitalization and has been transformed into a pedestrian-only walkway.

Melonson is the founder and owner of Hartford-based Lumi Hospitality, a boutique marketing agency with a focus on hospitality, real estate and marketing.

Melonson is also the founder of the media platform WeHartford, and is a board member of the Hartford Chamber of Commerce and the CT Tourism Coalition.

In 2019, Melonson was recognized as a 40 Under Forty Honoree by the Hartford Business Journal.

“Knowing about all of the exciting new retail, restaurants and residential that is coming to downtown Hartford made it that much easier to decide to move forward on this lifelong dream,” Melonson said. “It also pushed me to create something really unique and special that would help with the positive momentum our city is seeing. The positivity, excitement, and sense of community are infectious in downtown Hartford – and it is surreal to be a part of it.”

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