Artist concept - Pop Bottle along Rt. 66.

Gas Station has World's Largest Pop Bottle

It may be more hype and hook than substance, but Pops is here. Almost.

Pops is a gas station/mini-mart conceived by fossil fuel billionaire Aubrey K. McClendon, who owns a great deal of land around Arcadia, Oklahoma. Route 66 also passes through Arcadia. McClendon decided to take advantage of the location by building a gas station on Route 66 that people would talk about.

Soda pop is the hook. McClendon has had built "Bubbles," the world's largest soda bottle, which stands 66 feet tall if you count the straw sticking out of its neck. The "bottle" is made of steel hoops painted yellow, and attached to the hoops are thousands of LED lenses, enabling it to change colors and undulate like a Times Square billboard. Out on the prairie, after dark, it will be visible for miles. "When they light that pop bottle up, it's gonna be unbelievable," said an awestruck John Hargrove, creator of the OK County 66 attraction outside of town. "That thing there is gonna be wild."

Artist concept - Pop's.

McClendon has filled the windows of the mini-mart with thousands of soda bottles, representing hundreds of different brands. They are glued down to prevent accidents -- but Pops customers can buy the same sodas in the store. Over 400 refrigerated varieties will be available at Pops (and reportedly none will cost over $3.00) while over 1,200 can be ordered from a kiosk where customers can make up their own cases and have them shipped to their homes. Even Moxie will be available here. We asked Jessica Acock, Pops marketing director, how the sodas were chosen. "We Googled a lot," she answered.

Not everyone in the area is happy about Pops -- or, rather, McClendon. One area business owner, who asked not to be named, told us that, "He's bought nice little mom and pop businesses out and just bulldozed 'em. His intention is to put Arcadia on the map, and you sure don't want to stand in front of him."

Right now, the only thing standing between Pops and hordes of thirsty Route 66 customers is the weather. According to Jessica, the grand opening of Pops has been pushed back from June 1 to July 1 and now to "sometime in August" because so much rain has fallen in Arcadia this summer. Is it the confluence of so much gas, or has McClendon's steel bottle become a storm magnet?

[07/15/2007]
Address:
Hwy 66, Arcadia, OK
Directions:
I-35 exit 141 (2nd St./Edmond), then drive six miles east on Hwy 66.
Hours:
The bottle glows at night. (Call to verify)
Phone:
405-928-7677
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