Healthy innovation

At first glance, the interior of Soda Pharm looks like your typical coffeehouse: exposed brick wall, comfy chairs and couches that welcome lingering stays, and a variety of chalkboards displaying the seasonal menu and the daily coffee roast. 

But then, alongside the espresso and treats selection, you’ll notice some not-so-typical offerings: probiotic lemonade, elderberry handcrafted soda, and a fire cider shooter. 

Dawn and Carson Combs

Union Rural Electric Cooperative members Dawn and Carson Combs operate Soda Pharm in Marysville.

Soda Pharm exterior

Welcome to Soda Pharm, where the old-fashioned pharmacy soda fountain concept is reborn — this time with the modern twist of innovative self-care through functional food and natural medicinal herbs. 

Dawn Combs and her husband, Carson, members of Marysville-based Union Rural Electric Cooperative, own the Marysville-based storefront apothecary. “We wanted to bring health to the level where you are — make it accessible in a way that hasn’t been done before,” says Combs, a certified herbalist who holds an M.A. in ethnobotany and is a nationally recognized functional food specialist. “We approach it from a completely non-judgmental angle. You don’t want to give up your weekly Big Mac and fries? No problem. But let’s replace the Diet Coke with a healthy, tasty soda made with an herbal syrup that will help your digestion.” 

Whether it is the genuine sourdough bread, the syrup and seltzer sodas that are made to order right in front of you, or the medicinal product selection, Soda Pharm provides a unique and tasty space to explore health. 

The store shelves feature Dawn’s own herbal tinctures and syrups with names like “Happy” and “Revive,” honey-and-herb mixtures like “Focus,” and a selection of loose-leaf teas with labels that read, “Headache Ease,” “Good Night,” and “Swallowed Emotions.” 

“When I do a personal consult with my clients, I address not only the physical side but the emotional side as well,” she says. “You can’t just focus on the physical only and expect to fully heal. It has to be more holistic: spiritual, psychological, and nutritional.”

Dawn’s passion for health originated from her own struggles with infertility issues. Her quest for answers took her beyond the idea of eating vegetables and exercising to fully understanding the complex relationship between the modern environment and the human body, including reproductive health. Now the mother of two children, she’s poured her knowledge into articles, podcasts, an online study school, and three books on health and herbalism. She has been nationally recognized for her therapeutic honey spreads and other herbal products — all of which come from the Combses’ herb and honey farm, Mockingbird Meadows, also a URE member. 

“Our motto here at Soda Pharm is, ‘Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food,’” Combs says. “You’ll leave a little healthier than when you came in.”