When walking into the new Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop in downtown St. Charles, the first thing that struck me was not a favorite treat from the past. It was the music.
It was an interesting throwback mix of artists without much in common -- The Grateful Dead, Ricky Nelson, Bobby Darin, The Beatles and other oldies. But the music was the backdrop for a store that is definitely a blast to my youthful past.
After all, there was a time when the most important thing in life was rustling up a couple of nickels to go to the corner store in my Southwest Side Chicago neighborhood and find some caramel bulls-eyes or licorice rolled up around a piece of hard candy.
Rocket Fizz, 301 W. Main St., is right across from The Filling Station bar and grill and offers nearly every type of candy and pop imaginable, especially the various flavors of Rocket Fizz.
"Rocket Fizz alone comes in 112 different flavors," manager Deana Brescia said of her store's 500 different soda pops.
"Things have been going well these first couple of weeks," Brescia said. "I think people are overwhelmed at all of the candy and other items we have here.
"Many haven't seen a store like this in so long," Brescia added.
That's probably true. You are not going to run into many places that offer loads of taffy featuring every flavor imaginable, to go along with old standbys like Sixlets, Goo Goo Clusters, Fizzies and Turkish Taffy.
The store also sells an array of toys and memorabilia, including concert posters featuring promotions from a great time to be young, starring with the likes of Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Monkees and more.
The St. Charles store is the second Rocket Fizz to open since last year. Brescia's father Robert, the franchise owner, opened the first store last year in Glenview.
Quarter century of clothes
Good Cents Children at 220 W. State St. in downtown Geneva celebrated its 25th year in business last month.
Not bad for a business neighbors Shirley Stopka and Diane Upton started in 1990 to offer parents some new and gently used clothes and toys for their children.
It's been in a few different locations around town over the years but now finds itself in a nice spot for downtown foot traffic.
Patrick Stinson doesn't really need to hear this from me, because he certainly knows it. But he's become the managing director of an excellent theater.
Fox Valley Repertory recently appointed Stinson to the director role, replacing Colleen Tovar, who held the position for 11 years.
He'll work closely with the Pheasant Run theater's artistic director John Gawlik to determine what plays and musical events Fox Valley Repertory will offer.
In the past, that has certainly meant entertaining fare for resort guests and area residents wise enough to realize they can see very talented people at reasonable prices.
Stinson has been associated with the theater for some time, having directed the musical "The Winter Wonderettes" and many youth productions.
Organ transplant assist
Volunteers in North Aurora are raising money for the Children's Organ Transplant Association to help the family of Calvin Hummel, a baby in North Aurora in need of a kidney transplant. The family asked the association for help.
People are looking to raise $50,000 and are seeking more volunteers to help with various fundraisers. Individuals or groups can call Hanna Colliander at (630) 310-4357.
Those favorite cities
Chicago recently placed seventh on a list of top U.S. cities to visit and stay in hotels.
After all, it was the Travel and Leisure World's 2015 reader survey that ranked these favorite places.
I can live with that ranking, but it was disappointing to realize I have yet to visit any of the top three cities -- Charleston, South Carolina; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Savannah, Georgia.
But I have been to city No. 4 -- Santa Fe, New Mexico -- on many occasions and highly recommend it.
Great places to visit, but none of the above are going to convince me to leave the Tri-Cities area any time soon.
The Kane County Fair comes to a close Sunday, and that can mean only one thing: It's your last chance to get a funnel cake or, depending on what the food vendor is calling them, an "elephant ear."
Which also means it's your last chance to consume about 760 calories and 44 grams of fat, by most estimates, depending on how much powdered sugar you have on one of these deep-fried dough delicacies.
To take a line from Homer Simpson, "Mmmmm … funnel cakes."
There is no doubt the Court Appointed Special Advocates in Kane County have helped represented countless children stuck in the legal system over the past several decades.
But when you look at the numbers, you get a better understanding of the important role that volunteers in CASA provide.
Through the first six months of 2015, CASA has served 532 children, with 114 of those being new for the program. In that time frame, CASA has been involved in 309 court cases.