EVERETT — It’s like the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! of odd snacks.
Lady Gaga Oreo cookies, mac & cheese gummy candy, vanilla milkshake potato chips and Warheads sour soda are among the over 300 limited edition munchies in this alley garage gallery on Hoyt Avenue in downtown Everett.
What’s up with that?
Jaxen McInnis is founder of the Snackin Shack, a one-car garage decked out floor-to-ceiling with treats and tantalizing fast-food posters. Stare in wonder and sweet bliss at candylicious Lunchables and pumpkin spice flavors in every cereal, chip and confection form imaginable.
The mini-museum is in an unlikely space.
“It was a normal garage. I used to park my car in here,” McInnis said. “I added more shelves and the collection just kept growing.”
Now his Ford Focus is in the parking lot on Hoyt Avenue, across from the Schack Art Center.
To McInnis, snacks are art. He dresses the part in shirts with food graphics. A favorite is a Nike Fruity Pebbles hoodie.
“I have always been a lover of snacks. In middle school people started calling me ‘Snacks’ and it just stuck,” said McInnis, 26, who grew up in Bremerton.
He moved to Everett seven years ago and is assistant manager at Cash America Pawn shop.
He collected fast food ads, signage and menus before going bananas over limited edition snacks about two years ago.
“The Lady Gaga Oreos, that’s really what got me started,” he said. “It made me want to find another limited edition.”
Most products he finds at the supermarket or are gifted to him. All are unopened. Restaurants give him their old ad signs.
He collects novelty items, such as a beach towel with the Keebler Elves.
“Did you know they all have names?” he said. (Ernie, Zoots, Leonardo, Fast Eddie and Buckets, to name a few.)
In his apartment above the garage are more snacks and his collection of 800 movies.
His favorite snacks: “Popcorn. Starburst. Skittles. Anything sour.”
“All the chips, I try,” he said.
He has small snacks to give out to visitors, such as Chex Mix birthday cake bars.
Rachael Bradley, a friend who collects Coca-Cola items, has watched the Snackin Shack evolve.
“I remember when this was just foam and concrete, when he started with the Oreos over there,” she said. “It has been fun to watch. I’m excited to see what he does with it.”
This is just the start for the snackman.
“The end goal is to create a museum,” McInnis said. “This is a mini-museum. I want a real museum, a big museum, a national museum.”
There are other mouth-watering museums.
The Hershey Story museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, has all things chocolate. Be a pepper at the Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco, Texas. Wiggle at the Jell-O Museum in Le Roy, New York. The Dessert Museum in the Philippines has 12,000 square feet and 12 deliciously decorated rooms. Candytopia, an interactive candy experience, has sites in various cities throughout the United States.
Not all are sugary: The Spam Museum in Austin, Minnesota, tells the history of the Hormel company, the origin of Spam, and its place in world culture. Others are Cup Noodles Museum in Japan, European Asparagus Museum in Germany and The Butter Museum in Ireland. The list goes on.
McInnis opened the garage door for visits and selfies last Sunday and had about a dozen visitors. He plans to open from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. on upcoming Sundays. The address is 2916 Hoyt Ave.