Oct 122012

Author: Kendall Greenwood

Rocket Fizz candy and soda shop. Photo by Khristian Gilham.

This store has about 75 different kinds of root beer, 75 different flavors of taffy, and candy bars that have been around since the 1920’s. Sounds like a kid’s store, but Rocket Fizz has a place in the hearts of the old and the young.

Rocket Fizz, a candy and soda shop off College and LaPorte Ave. in Old Town, Fort Collins opened on June 24. The owner, Jeff Sindelar, said he wanted to create a shop reminiscent of the past.

“Usually the grab-and-go candy stores back in the ‘50s had pop and candy, soda fountains, kind of everything,” Sindelar said. “The old-style pop and candy stores, they kind of went hand-in-hand.”

In this regard, Sindelar gives his customers more than a few choices.  Rocket Fizz has over 400 types of soda, ranging from root beer made in Australia to Coca-Cola made in Mexico.

As far as candy goes, there is British and Asian candy, salt-water taffy to regular taffy and a large variety of old-school and modern candy bars.

“We carry stuff that’s common, all the way to uncommon,” Sindelar said. “You might see some old stuff here, but we carry all the flavors of that type of candy.”

Rocket Fizz also carries tin “retro” signs, rock concert posters, cardboard stand-ups, toys and gag gifts.

As a result, the shop can cater to many different age groups.

“We are good for all ages really,” Sindelar said. “No matter what age anybody is, we will probably have something in the store they will like.”

Rocket Fizz is not just all about the treats though. Providing excellent customer service and a unique experience is the shop’s main mission, Sindelar said. To accomplish this, the staff is interactive with every customer. For manager Troy Horner, 42, this means thinking like a customer.

“I deal with [customers] the way I would like to be dealt with,” Horner said. “In a nice orderly manner; a courtesy type of way.”

Eye contact and interaction are an important aspect of the Rocket Fizz experience.

“[My favorite part] is interacting with the customers and seeing the big smiles older customers get when they see a product they haven’t seen since they were a kid, to the little kids just bouncing and jumping around from all the candy they don’t normally get to see in a regular store,” Horner said.

While new to Fort Collins, this is not the only Rocket Fizz store. The stores originate from a small chain with 32 stores across the country, according to Sindelar. However, the business plan is a kind of hybrid.

“Each store is kind of individually owned and operated,” Sidelar said, “but yet we’re a chain in that we pull everything together and buy from our own ordering system and it saves money on all our prices.”

Soda bottles, Seattle

Soda bottles, Seattle (Photo credit: Curtis Cronn)

Rocket Fizz also provides some of its own products. The company makes its own soda that can be stocked in any of the stores.

The store and the value system of the company are what convinced Sindelar to get in the business.

“Their support is excellent and the people are really good,” Sindelar said. “It’s really a family-oriented company.”

According to Sindelar, the store is always changing. Inventory is a little bit different every week to make it a new experience for returning customers. If a customer comes in and does not find the product they are looking for, Sindelar and his staff do what they can to get it in.

“We will get it if we have the ability to order it,” Sindelar said.

Sindelar is hoping to be able to provide seating in the galleria outside the store soon. They will also be putting up a life-size Spiderman.

“[Working here is] fun, energetic and enjoyable,” Horner said. “[One of my] favorite candies is the smoothie, which is a butterscotch, buttercup candy bar.”

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