A trip to Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop at 1414 Garnet Ave., a franchise owned by David and Tammy Anderson, is like a trip to Candy Land — or back in time to a 1950s soda fountain.
Patrons get a sugar rush walking through the Pacific Beach shop’s front door. They get smacked in the kisser by the nostalgic décor, wowed by the vast assortment of soft drinks and confections that seemingly pour out of the walls.
There are also choice bits of memorabilia for sale thrown in for good measure, like cardboard cutouts of movie characters, as well as copies of concert posters and a few gag gifts, like Groucho Marx noses, Whoopie cushions, even hand-buzzers and Silly Putty.
“It’s built around being a kid,” said David Anderson. “Its for the kid in all of us. Whether it’s truly a kid in a candy store or it’s you and I and that kid inside of us in a candy store, that’s the idea behind this.”
Tammy Anderson agreed.
“Everybody can find something they remember from their childhood here,” she said. “We’ve got 70- and 80-year-olds coming in and going, ‘Oh my gosh, they’ve got Necco,’ and 40-year-olds coming back and finding Astro Pops from the ’60s.”
What’s people’s reaction to the store’s sweet treats?
“They love it,” said Tammy Anderson. “They just come in and smile.”
Patron Tim Havens of La Mesa was in Rocket Fizz on a recent with his girlfriend, who was surprised at the store’s appearance.
“I wasn’t expecting it to be this bright, clean, polished and sophisticated,” she said.
“You got everything you need in here,” said Havens, grabbing a pack of cinnamon gummy bears he said he’s been unable to find anywhere else. “This takes me back to my childhood for sure.”
Havens’ reaction is typical, said David Anderson.
“People walk in three or four steps … and they are totally overwhelmed,” he said. “Nostalgia is a big part of this, too, whether it’s candy or concerts (posters) or soda, there’s a lot of nostalgia in this store. We’re talking about Dots, Hot Rocks, Abba Zaba chewy taffy bars and Milk Nips. There’s so many things in this store that bring people back to their childhood, and that’s the key.”
The Rocket Fizz franchise started out in Camarillo north of Los Angeles and is spreading like wildfire in Southern California. The Andersons credit their four children with getting them started as nostalgic candy store franchisees.
“Our kids are the ones who inspired us to do this,” David Anderson said. “They’re big fans, obviously, of the product and concept. My wife and I looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s do this.’ ”
Classic rock ’n’ roll and pop music plays in the background, like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” as visitors scan the store. Browsing down the aisles there’s every imaginable kind of candy, including a huge taffy section, as well as British- and sugar-free displays.
“The British table is insanely popular,” said David Anderson.
Tammy said British chocolate is richer than American, as it is made with less sugar and more cocoa.
Sign plaques with whimsical and humorous sayings stand out. One depicts a roadside chicken that reads, “Chickens can cross the road without having their motives questioned,” another with a “Wizard of Oz” take showing ruby slippers, proclaiming, “It’s still about the shoes,” while yet another from the “Mom Cave” series states, “I’d shop less but the economy needs me.”
“It’s been very interesting and just a lot of fun,” said David Anderson of the business venture, adding the best time to be around is Friday after PB Middle school lets out when, he said, it’s just like Halloween as the candy store is deluged by kids — and their parents.
“This place is a madhouse because all these kids come in and they just freak out,” he said. “The parents come in and they eat more (candy) than the kids. Their baskets are even bigger than their kids because they get so excited about finding stuff they haven’t seen in years since they were a kid.”
Rocket Fizz is open seven days a week. For more information, visit www.rocketfizz.com.