You often hear stories of people described as being “excited as a kid in a candy store.”
There’s now a place in Arlington to get that feeling.
Rocket Fizz, a Camarillo, Calif.-based classic soda and candy store, opened its second and newest regional franchise in November at Champions Park, located at 1707 N. Collins St.
For the last three months, customers have wandered into the store and rediscovered that wide-eyed look.
“This is a fun little location,” says store manager Jennifer Retiz. “We have nostalgic candy that takes you back to your childhood. We’ve got 500 flavors of bottled soda, and just about anything you can imagine.
“Our customers are always excited when they come in. They’ll see something and say, ‘I had that as a kid.’”
The soda section contains not only bottles of classic drinks like Nehi, but also carries bottles from The Pop Shoppe, drinks that were popular in Arlington almost 40 years ago. But that’s only half the story.
There are also custom-made sodas, allowing customers to try Pickle soda, Birthday Cake soda, Harry Potter soda, Brittany Spears soda, Brownie Caramel Cream root beer, and so on.
Once the customer has pried his or her eyes off the soda, they run into the candy section, featuring long-lost classics such as candy cigarettes, bubble gum cigars, Mexican candy, licorice and just about any other candy you can think of.
As one might expect, Retiz doesn’t really think of her job as work.
“This is the most fun I’ve ever had at a job,” she said. “I’ve got 20 years of customer service experience, but I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Lining the walls of the store are classic movie and concert posters, metallic signs, gift bags and other paraphernalia. There’s also a section featuring action figures and comic books, although they are not a featured section.
Most people would see this job as a dream come true, and sales associate Ekemma Mba says they’d be right.
“This is the best job I’ve ever had,” she said. “A lot of people come in and say that they’re just looking, but most of them spent close to $250.”
Mba says she’s also a fan of the music playing over the loud speaker, ranging from 1950s rock ‘n’ roll to 1970s disco.
If for any reason, customers can’t find what they’re looking for, Retiz said they can special order most things.
“We had a request for Valomilk candy,” she said. “We didn’t have it that day, but within a week we did.”
The regional manager of the stores already has one in Bossier City, La., and has plans to open five more stores within five years, Retiz added.
Mba said she often sees customers putting one thing after another in their shopping basket, without realizing how much they’re spending.
“I’ve had people tell me they’ve spent almost half of their paycheck in here,” she said.
Upon hearing that, Retiz shared a small laugh.
“That’s OK,” she said with a smile. “I do, too. Every week.