Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Under the Sign of the Revolving Stein"

The following article is taken from the August 1963 Frostopics Vol.1 No.2 A Newsletter for the Frostop family.
T.W. Ganus - Frostop Success Story
The year was 1931, a depression year. A 15 year old boy, fresh from the farm, arrived in New Orleans to work in a Drive-In owned by an older brother. This A&G Drive-In represented an investment of only $1800. This is how T.W. Ganus got his start in the food business.
The next 15 years saw this $1800 Drive-In grow into one of the South's largest restaurant chains, and T.W. Ganus from a dish washer to the position of Executive Vice President and Personal Director of A&G. In 1946, he left to establish a wholesale food and catering business in Indianapolis, Indiana. He returned to New Orleans in time to get in on the booming soft ice cream business.
The J. Hungerford Smith Company representative approached Ganus with the idea of opening a Frostop Drive-In. With typical foresight, he saw an opportunity with many areas for growth. In the Fall of 1954 Ganus opened the South's first Frostop Drive-In., under the "sign of the revolving stein", with his younger brother Melvin, as managing partner.
With the goal of year round operation, Ganus felt that a good food program was needed and a limited menu of high quality sandwiches was selected. This called for some changes in the building and equipment plans. The result was a new design of both the building and equipment to allow for fast service and high quality. Customers came from all parts of New Orleans to the self service windows to enjoy the Frostop Root Beer and the quality Frostop menu.
The perfecting of formulas and the copyrighting of the trade names has enabled Frostop operators to enjoy exclusive use of the highest quality products. The first item copyrighted was the Lot-O-Burger and later the Butterburger. These are available only to Frostop operators.
The sucess of the first Frostop attracted much interest. The second unit was opened on the opposite side of town. Now operated by Hugh Wyatt, he has guided its growth from $3000 monthly sales to $15,000. The recent addition of an enclosed seating area for 70 customers has enhanced his operation. Hugh is completing plans for his second Frostop to be opened soon.
C.A. Cox opened his Frostop in Kenner on the Airline Highway. for many years the Kenner Frostop had only outside window service and a reputation for good products. the recent air-conditioned enclosed dining area he built gives him both inside and outside traffic. Cox and Ganus opened two stores together in Algiers and Westwego.
Ralph Gall opened a store in Eunice, Louisiana, and another in Lafayette, Louisiana, and nearly exhausted himself trying to spend as much time in each store as possible. Ralph sold the Eunice Frostop to Mrs. Helen Doty and the Lafayette Frostop to Paul Newman. He then built his store on St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, into one of the highest volume Frostops in the area. He is building two more Frostops in new shopping centers to open in two or three months.
Ted Sternberg a jet pilot in the Korean conflict, became interested and opened a Frostop near a shopping center in East New Orleans. This was the beginning of several that now total four in New Orleans and, with partner Dick Sitton, three more in Little Rock, Arkansas. With a total of seven stores, Ted is running more Frostops than any other single operator.
The identity of the Frostops has been made quick and easy by the use of the revolving stein sign. This unique replica of a frosted mug filled with Root Beer, revolving atop the Frostop building and catching the eyes of passing motorists as it turns on a pole near the street,, has become a landmark all over the country. First used in the New Orleans area, it rapidly caught on. It was copyrighted by Ganus to limit its use to Frostop operators. Copyrighted designs and patents were sold to Frostop to be used on a national scale.
By this time inquiries were coming in from other cities and states. Frostop Drive-In's were opened in several cities in surronding areas. Frostops now in operation in Louisisana are: Lloyd Bearden, three Drive-Ins in Baton Rouge; LeRoy Lunceford, Raceland ad Thibodeaux; Hebron Leblanc, Gretna, George Reynolds, two Drive-In's in New Orleans; Bill Wahl, Algiers, Westwego, and New Orleans; Emile Martin, Harahan; Milton Fogg, Slidell; Marion Johnson, Shreveport; Wayne Kendricks, LaPlace; Rudy Kirns, Mandeville; Alva Dukes, Bogulusa; Louis Sanders, West Monroe; William McKee, New Iberia; Gaston Wilson, Morgan City and Houma; Mrs. Helen Doty, Eunice; and Paul Newman, Lafayette. As this issue goes to press five new Frostops are going in - two in New Orleans, one in Chalmette, one in Crowley and one in Batesville, Miss.
Due to his success in Louisiana and his proximity to the area, the Frostop management encouraged Mr. Ganus to become distributor in Mississippi. Mrs. Keller operates in Picayune; Dick and Ed Ward in Hattiesburg; Ray McPhail in Laurel; Jack Capelle in Greenwood; Charles Weeks in Greenville; and John Wilson operates two Frostops in Jackson. Mr. Ganus also distributes to two stores in Florida- Guy Hamilton in Jacksonville and Mr. Alumbaugh in Bradenton.
From the first store opening Ganus us sought better equipment and methods of production. Asked what he believed was the most important factor in the success of his distributorship, Ganus stated that to be successful a store must serve the finest products available, render quick and courteous service and the store and its employees remain spotlessly clean at all times. He stated further that no store ever failed to make a success when this formula is applied.
In December 1959, Ganus became president of Frostop Products Inc. and directed the national franchising Company from headquarters in New Orleans. During this time, the first Frostop outside the U.S.A. was opened in Winnipeg, Canada. the northwest states were opened and new Frostops sprang up. Traveling all over the United Sates took a great deal of his time, and in January of 1962, Ganus, with a desire to devote more time to his own distributorship, returned the national management of Frostop to the J. Hungerford Smith Company.
Since then Ganus has devoted his time to upgrading the Frostops in his area. Jim Faull, who had for the past three years managed three Frostop Drive-Ins, joined Ganus in May, 1963, with the purpose of aiding Frostop operations in the area in every possible way.
T.W. Ganus, a Frostop success story.
To see a copy of the original article:

Monday, July 20, 2009

LaPlace Frostop Online

The LaPlace Frostop started its venture into the world of the Internet back in 2007 with the introduction of our website Since then, we have really jumped into the online world.
We now have accounts on facebook, twitter, flickr, youtube, blip, cafe press, and our own blog! If you need directions, menu, pictures, videos, merchandise, etc. of the LaPlace Frostop you can find what you are looking for at one of our sites. Below you will find links to all of our sites, hopefully you will find something you will enjoy!

LaPlace Frostop online sites are sure to keep you in the know for all things going on in the LaPlace Frostop world!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

LaPlace Frostop Mug Restoration 2007

On Saturday August 25, 2007, the LaPlace Frostop mug came down to receive a complete makeover. The crew from American Sign Maintenance showed up bright and early on that Saturday morning to take the mug down from its home on the pole. The mug was taken down and then fitted with a base for the transfer to Hahnville, Louisiana. After the mug was welded to a base it was picked up and put on a trailer for the ride across the river. It was hard watching it drive away. It was easy to see once the mug was closer to eye level just what kind of shape the mug was in - and that was terrible. Almost 50 years of exposure to the elements had really done the metal skin in! The old mug sure was rusty. It would be in for an "extreme" makeover mug style.
Once the mug made it to Hahnville, it was time to take off the neon to be reused and strip away the VERY rusted sheet metal. The fiberglass foam and handle was to be saved to use again. The new aluminum would go on the inside skeleton which would also be reused. American Sign was e-mailing us pictures to keep us updated on our mugs progress. When we got the above picture we were all a bit sad. Even though we knew the mug was in terrible shape, to see the old skin crumpled on the ground was depressing!

The original frame, transformers, and rotation unit are shown on the left.

 The new aluminum skin went on the frame and the new mug took shape.

As the pictures kept coming by e-mail we could see our new mug really starting to take on the right look.

By the time we saw this picture we knew the mug was going to look outstanding. We decided to check the mug out in person and drove across the river to Hahnville to see all the details in person. We actually had them paint in a bit more detail such as the droplets going down the mug. When we got this picture we knew it wouldn't be long before the mug would be coming home!
The mug returned on Friday October 5, 2007!

We celebrated the following Saturday October 13, 2007 with a car show and DJ to commemorate the "Return of the Mug"!
Click the link below to see a slide show of the entire process of the LaPlace Frostop mug restoration:
Click the link below to watch the video of the mug turning in all its glory at night:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

LaPlace Frostop Merchandise

LaPlace Frostop merchandise is available at Cafepress!
Items below and many more!

So check us out and get some LaPlace Frostop gear!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Frostop Root Beer

Nothing Tops it but the foam!
As an answer to a question that is often asked of us at the LaPlace Frostop, YES there is already someone bottling Frostop Root Beer! We are anxious to try it out and see how much it tastes like our homemade LaPlace Frostop root beer!
Here is a little history from their website:
Frostop® is a name that at its zenith was most familiar to millions of thirsty Americans. In 1926, Mr. L. S. Harvey opened his first Frostop® Root Beer stand in Springfield, Ohio. It was so successful that word quickly spread about his operation and its delicious, creamy root beer.Soon, Frostop® stands spread throughout the nation until the onset of World War II. During the war, expansion was curtailed due to shortages of building materials and equipment, as well as the flavors and sweetening agents so necessary in the manufacture of Frostop® Root Beer.After the war, Mr. Harvey, who was convinced that Frostop® was the finest root beer ever made, resumed expansion of the chain. Under new aggressive ownership in the 1950s, Frostop® experienced tremendous growth during the post war boom years of the drive-in era. The signature brown and yellow, neon lit stands, with their gigantic, revolving root beer mug on top, dotted the countryside and became a favorite place to rest and enjoy an icy cold frosted mug of Frostop®. The product's as good as ever, and we thought it was long overdue for a revival. The great genuine 1950s taste is now available for purchase in nostalgic brown bottles.
In 1958, at the height of Frostop's® fame,there were drive-in's all across America. The map on the right shows where the Frostop's were located.
Their website also lists where the product is available:
We are working hard to get more retail outlets to handle Frostop®. Ask your grocer to get you some today! Currently you may purchase bottled Frostop® Root Beer in parts of the following states: Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, California, and Oregon. This is about how their product is packaged: Frostop® is proud of their unique, custom packaging. The 1-liter bottle was patterned after another favorite 1950s design...the brown quart beer bottle. Now made in recyclable plastic and attractively labeled, 1-liter Frostop® is available through supermarkets. Frostop's® painted label, 16 oz., brown glass, long-neck beer bottle is available for single-serve sales through many convenience stores, deli's, and restaurants. Now Frostop® is available on tap in selected markets. Whether in a bottle or on draft in a frosted mug...
Frostop root beer is produced by Dan Meyers (President, Frostop Beverages, Inc., Hopkins, MN.
To learn more about the product check out their website
We raise our frozen mug to Frostop Beverages for helping to keep the Frostop brand alive!

Friday, July 10, 2009

AAA Southern Traveler

We just found out we were mentioned in the AAA Southern Traveler July/August 2009! We are now an icon as well as an oddity! Click below to read the article.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Great Blogs - Vintage Roadside & Retro Roadmap

We have recently been covered in two great blogs - Vintage Roadside-the blog and Retro Roadmap! Vintage Roadside: We did an interview with VintageRoadside about the history of the LaPlace Frostop. The interview really turned out terrific. Check it out here: You can also check Vintage Roadside out at their website:

This is from their website: Vintage Roadside t-shirts feature authentic vintage advertising images for people who love road trips, historic preservation, roller derby, vintage signs, rockabilly, hot rods, burlesque, mid-century architecture, vintage tattoo art, & great stories. For their great collection of pictures: You can follow them on twitter:
Become their fan on Facebook:
Retro Road Map Retro Roadmap did an overview of us- check it out here:

According to Retro Roadmap's blog site:

Retro Roadmap is your destination for all mid mod*/retro/ vintage places to visit and events to go to: -tiki and Polynesian pop -vintage diners and restaurants -vintage clothing, decor and shopping -classic cocktails and dive bars -hot rods and vintage cars -amusement parks, piers and boardwalks -drive-in movie theatres -roadside eats -downtown shopping -interesting architecture -old movies and classic movie theatres -rockabilly, lounge, garage, exotica -neon and classic old signs -vintage vacations and retro roadtrips -events celebrating any or all of the above and everything else wonderful and fun from the past!

You can join their group on flickr:

You can follow them on twitter

So check out these blogs they have some great stories! You can spend a whole day or more on the past!!