ANDERSON, S.C. (WSPA) – This year, 2020, has gotten a lot of flack for the combined amount of hardships the world has had to endure. Thus, the wish to escape this year and to travel back in time should start in Anderson, South Carolina.
Just off of Highway 81 in Anderson sits C&C Ice Cream and Arcade. This arcade is the Upstate’s only vintage 80’s video game arcade and 50’s ice cream parlor combo.
The family business was the brain child of co-owner Scott Austin and his son Case Austin. The idea came to be after his wife, co-owner Michelle Austin, told him that she supported his hobby of finding, refurbishing, and selling large gaming consoles. But, he was doing more “hoarding” versus selling.
“I told her hoarders keep broken things, but my things aren’t broken,” Scott Austin argued. So, the man cave filled with large upright gaming consoles had to go and the idea of opening an arcade started.
“My son’s like, ‘Well everybody loves ice cream,’ and we’re like yeah, okay. Ice cream and arcade. So, that’s how it came to be,” Austin said.
C & C opened in the fall of 2019 and Austin said it was a big hit for visitors and family members like his niece, Abby Fagan, who’s a weekend manager. She’s also in a constant battle for best ice cream sunday creator with her cousin Case.
Case, an artist, actually created the business’ mascots Cream, a pink ice cream scoop who represents the 50’s, and the other mascot Cade, the green scoop holding down the 80’s era.
The fun mascots, large gaming consoles, pinball machines and cocktail table games become even more special when superheros like Batman, Spiderman or Mario show up at the arcade to play with visitors.
“It’s fun seeing that kid for the first time, play a big console. Like, they don’t understand,” Austin said. “A lot of people have never played pinball. A lot of kids come in and they’re trying to touch the screen and they don’t understand they touch the front.”
All games only take quarters, to keep the arcade authenticity. Don’t worry if you don’t carry cash, an ATM and change machine are on side.
So, for only 50 cents, games of yesteryear come alive and kids of all ages come to play.
“It’s cool because mom or grandma can usually beat the kid on Pac-Man. So it’s kind of some bragging rights too. It’s pretty neat,” Austin said.
Mortal Kombat, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Pac-Man, Mrs. Pac-Man, Centipede, Asteroids are among the 15 large gaming consoles and three cocktail game tables that visitors can play. This is in addition to the five pinball machines that are also available to play.
The arcade can allow up to 25 visitors at a time and private parties, with superhero visitors, are available for scheduling. While some people come for just the ice cream or just the games, Austin explained that the call to do both is a strong one.
So strong in fact, there’s a chance to meet video gamer royalty. Austin said the family met a gentleman who could kill the Pac-Man game.
“He said, ‘You ever seen a kill screen?’ I’m like what’s a kill screen? He goes, ‘Well actually the game will end. You play it until it runs out of memory. It runs out of code, and we’d never seen that before. I had him actually sign the marquee because he’s like third in the world on scoring,” Austin said.
“Another guy came in and played Asteroids who is a former world record holder.”Austin said,”He played a game of Asteroids, when he was younger, continuous for 55 hours. So, he played for a while, rolled it like 67 times.”
If the 1950’s ice cream parlor or 1980’s video game arcade is too early in history for you, head to downtown Anderson for the 1900’s themed CocoBon Chocolatier.
The shop’s Owner and Chocolatier, David Saidat, said his passion for chocolate combined with this love for the local history of downtown Anderson.
“Since Anderson is so rich in local history. We felt that it’s very important to try and celebrate that,” Saidat explained.
CocoBon’s building has been standing since the 1800’s and actually used to sell pianos. Saidat said he wanted to make sure fully functional antique pieces were in his chocolate shop, so one of the pianos sold from the very same building, sits near one of the display cases.
The shop features hundreds upon hundreds of hand crafted chocolates, some of which are award winning, and that’s in addition to the specialty popcorn, candies, and other snacks that are also available.
“Of course the byline of our name is ‘The passion of chocolate’ We have a passion for chocolate. We want to put out the top best quality, European style chocolates that we can,” Saidat said.
Visitors to Cocobon can also make their own chocolate, though a timely process, he said is well worth the effort.
“Hand making chocolates takes a great deal of time, effort, and understanding of the chocolate and the processes that we go through. I’d love to be able to show you some of those,” Saidat explained.