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Retro soda pop, candy shop to open in downtown Ann Arbor

Rocket Fizz will open its doors on Main Street in early August

The Rocket Fizz, Soda Pop & Candy Shop sign in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The Rocket Fizz, Soda Pop & Candy Shop sign in Kalamazoo, Michigan. (Rocket Fizz)

ANN ARBOR – A new type of retail destination will soon be making its debut at 306 S. Main St.

Rocket Fizz, Soda Pop and Candy Shop will open in the former WSG Art Gallery space in early August.

Local owners Tom and Heather Holmer fell in love with the franchise when they visited a Rocket Fizz while on vacation in Lake Tahoe. They opened their first Rocket Fizz store in Kalamazoo in 2018, and after huge success, opened another location in Traverse City in 2019.

They had plans to open in Ann Arbor in 2020, but put the project on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rocket Fizz boasts 1,500 varieties of packaged candies ranging from Skittles and Kit Kats to blasts from the past like candy cigarettes and Bun Bars. It also sells imported candies from Europe and Asia, including flavored crickets and scorpion suckers for customers on the more daring side.

Another highlight is its saltwater taffy -- all 110 flavors of it. Rocket Fizz sells the taffy by the piece or by the bag, which has become a draw to the shop over the years.

Rocket Fizz co-owner Tom Holmer stands outside his shop at 306 S. Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor on July 7, 2021. (Meredith Bruckner)

“So, if you buy a bag, we insist that you fill it up obnoxiously,” said Tom Holmer. “We’ve had a lot of fun with that in Kalamazoo where kids try to find a method that works. We’ve got names for the methods and all that.”

In addition to candy, Rocket Fizz carries more than 500 varieties of soda pop. Rocket Fizz makes its own soda, and is known for its more bizarre flavors like Pickle Pop, Ranch Dressing and Mustard sodas. In addition to its own drinks, it also sells craft sodas from all over the country.

“We have stuff that you can usually only get in Kentucky or Maine, or whatever the case may be,” said Holmer. “For somebody who likes to try a lot of flavors, it can really expand the palate.”

Rocket Fizz also sells gag gifts, tin signs, concert posters, toys, games and more.

“Rubber chickens, we’ve got the horse masks -- lots of whimsy,” said Holmer.

So, why Ann Arbor?

“The vibrancy of Ann Arbor was something that was very attractive to us,” said Holmer. “There’s a nice buzz in this city and we really felt as we looked at the landscape it feels like retail is starting to come back here, but there’s not a whole lot of kid-friendly retail in town.

“I think we were kind of able to add that wrinkle to downtown for families here.”

Rocket Fizz Ann Arbor will be open seven days a week.

Hours:

Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Friday, Saturday: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Sunday: Noon-8 p.m.

For more information and updates ahead of the opening, visit Rocket Fizz Ann Arbor’s Facebook page and Instagram.


About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.