Psychologists say that every adult is harboring an inner child with its own desires—nagging needs that beg to be resolved even if they conflict with rational, grown-up goals. How does a busy adult handle such mental turmoil? When the kid in you acts up, just do what your parents did and shut it up with a trip to the candy store.
- PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
- SUGAR DADDY : Business owner Josh Morrow works seven days a week to get Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop off the ground, but his wife assumes candy duties in the afternoons so he can spend quality time with their two kids.
Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop recently opened in downtown San Luis Obispo, and it features a dazzling array of brightly colored candy wrappers, a veritable rainbow of soda flavors, fun gags, whimsical decorations, and its own Willy Wonka in the form of owner Josh Morrow. The only differences are that Morrow isn’t insane and he doesn’t employ little orange slave men or frequently break into song. He’s nice and easy going, though, and he’ll sell you a mess of candy, no problem.
“When you come in here, it’s time to get your sugar on,” Morrow said.
This man knows his sweets. Talking pop with Morrow is a lot like sipping wine with a sommelier … with a few subtle distinctions.
“Root beer is the new wine,” he said. “[Tommyknocker] has a bite on the front end, with some residual maple flavor on the tongue.”
He also described Rocket Fizz’s PB and J concoction, which has an initial fruity flavor followed by a nutty aftertaste.
“When you burp, it’s the marriage,” Morrow said.
Rocket Fizz is a nationwide franchise, but every location is unique. The basic template requires a common logo, offerings of the brand’s extensive soda line, and the use of old, iron K-mart carts for shelf space. Other than that, each owner can do whatever he or she wants with a shop.
Morrow added a smoking rocket that looks like it crashed through his soda cooler and a six foot-tall Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Flat screen TVs play nostalgia-heavy scenes from movies like Back to the Future, E.T., and the original Star Wars trilogy. Morrow’s also working on a display for a Jack Skellington doll that was actually used to shoot The Nightmare Before Christmas.
“I literally built this place with my own two hands,” Morrow said. “I wanted to create a museum of imagination, memories, and sweets.”
With more than 700 varieties of soda and 1,000 different candies, Morrow is certainly a sugar merchant, but the way he sees it, he’s really selling memories. He told New Times the story of a woman who came to his counter with more than a dozen Rocky Road Bars in her arms and tears in her eyes. She explained that her father had shared the uncommon candy with her during a childhood road trip. He died the next year, and she hadn’t seen them in stores until stopping by Rocket Fizz.
“Candy levels the playing ground for generations,” Morrow said. “It gives people an avenue to connect.”
Rocket Fizz lets you mix and match a six pack of soda for $8.99. The shop also offers an extensive selection of sugar-free candy and soda.
Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop is at 669 Higuera St. The store opens daily at 10 a.m., stays open late on Fridays and Saturdays, and can be reached at 543-7632.
Handcrafted items, art, and desserts will be available at the Sierra Vista Spring Boutique on March 30 from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will also be a raffle with prizes. Proceeds benefit the Sierra Vista Volunteer Scholarship fund. To request more information, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Calendar Editor Nick Powell compiled this week’s Strokes and Plugs. Send items for consideration to email@example.com.