Keith Wunderlich, 59, is one of Vernors' biggest fans.
For more than 35 years, he’s been collecting all sorts of Vernors memorabilia. Wunderlich adorned the walls and outfitted the basement of his Troy home with all things Vernors — complete with a soda fountain look and feel and three old Vernors vending machines. He’s the author of "Images of America Vernor’s Ginger Ale" (Arcadia Publishing, $19.99) as well as the founder of the Vernor's Ginger Ale Collector's Club, which has more than 70 members.
“I was interested in all things Detroit, no matter what it was,” Wunderlich says. “I was especially drawn to edible or drinkable products. So I liked Sanders candy, the different potato chip companies, the breweries, Vernors, Faygo.“
He says his collection started with some empty Vernors bottles he found in his parents' garage. Early on he came across clocks, trays and advertising memorabilia. He’s found many of the items at estate sales, antique shows and on eBay.
Although he’s never taken a count, Wunderlich estimates he has more than 1,000 pieces.
One of his best buys was picking up a Vernors tray for 25 cents at a neighbor's garage sale.
“I thought she knew I was a Vernors collector and I was surprised it was only a quarter, so I snatched it up very quickly,” Wunderlich says.
Aside from being a collector, Wunderlich is a Vernors historian and has fond memories of Vernors. He's also met three of James Vernor's sons.