Brittany Campbell

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Hires Big H

I spent the holidays in my hometown. I haven't been there in over year. While somethings have stayed the same, there are alot of differences. While I was growing up the town was full of small businesses. We went to a little Ace Hardware store for all our home improvement needs. We frequented the bakery that my mom use to work at during high school called Hunk-a-Bread. My grandparetns met at The BlueBird Restaurant. Our favorite pizza place was Papa Kelseys. People buy their wedding rings at Needham Jewlers. "Middle of the block at the sign of the clock." (That last bit was their tagline.) But now the hardware store is gone. The bakery has been replaced with a Pretzel Maker and my family makes daily trips to one of the two Walmarts in a town of just over 50,000 people. When I moved out of Cache Valley, Utah we didn't have a Starbucks. We had Citrus and Sage or Cafe Ibis. There were no Jimmy Johns. We went to Logan's Heros. But now the main street nostaligia is covered with Chic-fil-A, Home Depot, Ulta, Walgreens, PetSmart, Kohls, 2 Walmarts, Noodles and Company, Michaels, Staples, and many more all too familiar names. These are the types of names I expect to see in a big city, not my little happy valley.

The BlueBird. My grandma worked as a waitress while
frequent customer, grandpa, stole her heart.
So why I am crying about the corporal rape of my home town? I need you to understand how happy I was when I saw the below image.

 While shopping with my mom at the grocery store, Macey's, which is thankfully is a Utah original, we were walking through the baking aisle. At the end of the aisle there were a few shelves full of ice cream toppings. There were the usual Hershey's, Smucker's, Keebler's, Reese's, and all the other brands that specialize in making ice cream even more delicious. But in the middle of this big brand snooze fest, there was a beacon of hope. Hires Big H  sat on a shelf about the height of my elbows. The packaging was so clean and refreshing. In a crowd of ice cream condiments that were screaming "HEY! Look at ME!!!" Hires was sitting their like a cool and sophisticated wallflower. I picked up a bottle and started reading. "For flavoring colas, rootbeer, and other sodas, lemonade, milkshakes, ice cream, and snow cones." The packaging had given shoppers the nostalgic bliss of an old timey Soda Shop. I read more about the product. Hires Big H was a Drive-In that opened in Salt Lake City in 1956. The small Drive-In has been opened ever since. I still have memories of going there a few times with my family as a kid.


So I got to thinking. There has got to be a lot of people with the same experience as me. Twenty-somethings going back home to discover all their favorite local places have been replaced with corporate industries. I bet even the parents and grandparetns feel the same way. It's kind of sad to go into a grocery store and discover that your favorite shampoo or the cereal you're brand loyal to has changed it's packaging to a hipper, more corporate feeling design.

I think people now days yearn for the feeling of nostalgia. We like the old because it reminds us of our childhood, a simpler, carefree time. Even if I didn't grow up in the 1950's, I still remember my grandparents talking about it. They talk about all the fun they had. I see pictures of my grandma cooking in the 60s in her A-line dress and her hair in a beehive. Those are times older relatives laugh about but I can never be a part of those memories and I want to be. Those were the days, according to grandma, when things were made to last. Things were made with quality. It wasn't about having the most. It was about having the best. Somewhere our ideals have changed.

I think alot of designers now days are borrowing from mid-century design because it was simple. These designs give the feeling of quality. I'm not saying that we all stick a retro soda shop man on our packaging. I'm saying that we make it simple and smart. Apple products come in probably the best packaing I have ever seen but they are just white boxes with a straight on product shot. That's all they are. Simple.