On the surface, Rocket Fizz is a well-stocked candy and soda pop franchise, but for Capitol Hill shop owner Theresa Sindelar it’s a family business.
Sindelar opened Seattle’s first Rocket Fizz on May 25, after a five-month build out at 127 Broadway E., across the street from Sound Transit’s new light rail station.
The ground-floor retail space at the Hollywood Lofts building was a fairly blank slate, Sindelar said. Hollywood Video once had a store there, but shuttered in 2009, making way for redevelopment.
“We looked all over Seattle on scouting trips,” she said. “We really kept coming back to this area.”
Since graduating from college, Sindelar had worked for several advertising agencies. She said she “got the buzz” from helping her brother out with his Rocket Fizz franchises in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Estes Park and Fort Collins, Colorado, and wanted to be her own boss. The siblings grew up in a small town an hour from Omaha, where their parents owned a restaurant.
So far, most of Capitol Hill Rocket Fizz’s business has come from adults looking for gifts for other adults, Sindelar said.
Its selection of 400 types of soda from a cold case or the “Great Wall of Soda” has been popular, with many customers gravitating to the ginger and root beers. Then there are the novelty flavors like ranch dressing, conveniently located next to a buffalo wing soda, said employee Heather W.
“Then you get something like dirt soda that actually tastes like dirt,” she said, adding there is also a line of organic sodas and sugar-free candies that are fairly popular.
“I’m lucky to have employees that are very product knowledgeable,” Sindelar said.
As the first Rocket Fizz in Seattle, Sindelar said she’s working to stock her store with candies that will appeal to the market, such as international confections and soon a slew of coffee-centric candy.
“We get to do some localization,” she said, “which has been fun the first few weeks.”
There is also a decent amount of quality control, she said, with a row of bulk taffy and other candies against one wall.
“I was going to work myself through the alphabet, but I keep getting stuck on apricot, because it’s so good,” she said, adding a gum wall is coming soon that will be a small-scale nod to the one that exists in Pike Place Market, but less gross.
As the busiest time for Rocket Fizz has been the end of the workday, Sindelar said she bumped up her hours, so the shop is now open until 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends.
Capitol Hill Pride will take place across from Rocket Fizz at the light rail station on Saturday, June 25, so Sindelar plans on opening the double windows to her storefront and putting up a Pride-filled candy display.
She said she will consider other Rocket Fizz locations in Seattle in the future, but for now is focused on growing her business on Broadway.
“We’ll see how this one goes, but yes, that would be a great thing if we could open a second or third one down the road.”
Find out more about Rocket Fizz at rocketfizz.com or the Capitol Hill shop on its Facebook page.