A fond memory from Jennifer Dixon’s youth is visiting the general store near her grandparents’ place in Pennsylvania. Her grandfather would take her there to get candy.
“He (Grandpa) was a candy guy,” she said. “My parents were more of the ‘eat all the fruit you like’ type.”
Now, Dixon has come full circle with the opening of Rocket Fizz, a soda and candy store, in downtown Kirkland. The store held its grand opening last week.
Dixon first got the idea of opening up a Rocket Fizz store, her first business, early last year after seeing the co-founders featured on the TV show Undercover Boss. First opened in Camarillo, Calif. in February 2009, the store concept was created by Ryan Morgan and Robert (“Rob”) Powells.
“Something about it was appealing to me,” she said. “It was the visual aspect to it. The old time retro feel. I really liked the demeanor and personality of the cofounders.”
A trip to Portland to visit stores there later cemented her desire to open one in the Seattle area, which got off the ground following training in California. While others might describe starting a business as difficult, for Dixon the process of opening one of the latest stores for Rocket Fizz had few complications.
“It wasn’t that hard,” she said. “It (the process) was pretty well defined.”
It also seemed like the right time for her family, which includes an 18-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son.
“It was just something that presented itself,” she said. “It was something I thought we could all do.”
Complementing the store’s retro style is its assortment of old-time candies like bubble-gum cigarettes and cigars, gimmicks, gags and old fashioned posters. It also has an enormous selection of taffy flavors, 100, as well as 60 root beer flavors and 300 types of sodas. Although much of the store caters to children, Dixon said that the wide range of items will attract people of any age.
“I think there is something for everyone,” she said. “People see things they haven’t seen in years. It has something that appeals to everybody.”
When Dixon was working on securing permission to open the store she originally planned to open it in Woodinville where she lives, but a trip to downtown Kirkland to watch her son play baseball at the Lee Johnson field changed her mind.
“The downtown was lively,” she said.
By coincidence, a storefront had also just opened up along Central Way, and she was able to secure the lease.
“I think we are unique, but I do think it wouldn’t hurt to have more of us around,” she said.