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Without saying a word, behind covered windows local businessman Charlie Devine purchased and renovated the seemingly-defunct Rocket Fizz in downtown Hot Springs. When he was done, Devine tore down the window coverings and reopened the candy and soda shop to the community. It was the afternoon of March 7. He simply propped open the red doors and customers flooded in.
For four and a half hours the store was so crowded you could hardly walk. The register had two lines trailing to the back of the store. It's needless to say this nostalgic candy and soda shop had been sorely missed by the community since its closing along with other businesses at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
It could be assumed it would never reopen. But alas, Devine, who owns the building across the street that use to house his Bathhouse Dinner Theatre operation at 701 Central Ave., purchased Rocket Fizz at the beginning of 2022.
Devine said just like the theatre, this shop makes people happy.
"Everybody use to come in to the theatre when we opened the doors so happy and smiling, and they're just so excited because the show is about to start, and it's the same with Rocket Fizz. That's what I love about it — it's like owning a Disneyland."
People of all ages are finding delight in this store. Kids scream "Oh my god!" at the obscure sodas and candies, and adults echo them as they rediscover candies and nicknacks they haven't seen since they were kids.
"Even if someone was in a bad mood before, when they cross the threshold to that door they're smiling," Devine said. "Everyone just has the time of their life in here."
And although Rocket Fizz is a California-based franchise chain with about 91 locations, the one found here in Hot Springs is unique to this fun little oasis. Devine has incorporated local baseball and entertainment history, and lake life, into his products and design.
When perusing Rocket Fizz, the possibilities of what you may find are endless. Here's just a glimpse:
Glass bottle soda can be found at every eye level in Rocket Fizz. And I don't just mean cola or lemon-lime soda. There is a soda for every theme and occasion. The only question is: How adventurous are you prepared to be? Spot some of the following zany flavors lined on the shelves: Sweet Corn, Apple Pie, Butter, Mustard, Ranch, Black Olive, Cucumber, Buffalo Wing, Chocolate, Bacon Chocolate, Birthday Cake, Martian Poop, Barf, Marilyn Monroe, Enchilada, Labrador... I wasn't kidding when I said you can find anything. And don't be shy in trying them all! The flavors are all in good fun.
Try candy and soda from around the world at Rocket Fizz. Delight your palate with licorice from Australia, buttery smooth European chocolate, spicy Mexican candy like sriracha candy bars, or wildly popular Asian bubble milk teas. Branch out and discover something of another country without leaving home.
Gummies and Taffy
To say Rocket Fizz has a variety is just redundant at this point, but there's no better way to describe its gummy and taffy selection. You can find nearly anything in the form of a gummy here. Gummy pizza? Burgers? Sushi? Got it. Gummy donuts? You bet. Five pound gummy bears? They live here. Thirty-six-inch-long gummy snakes? Yikes, but yes. And more. As for taffy, there's tons of flavors. Have a taste of pumpkin pie, a mimosa, grape cotton candy, swiss cake roll or a chocolate malt with the pop of a single piece of taffy into your mouth.
Small toys and gag gifts
Rocket Fizz doesn't just carry consumables from your childhood. Discover classic toys and gag gifts among the delicious treats. You'll rediscover the fun found in a yoyo or a game of jacks. Get a laugh from a prank pulled with a whoopee cushion or wind up chatter teeth. Or get a new look with groucho glasses or bubba teeth.
Signs and posters
And last, but certainly not least, Rocket Fizz has a large selection of vintage tin signs and posters from original concerts, Put a splash of 1950's and forward in your home with tin signs advertising long lost Bazooka Bubble Gum, or celebrating professional baseball player Babe Ruth. Reminisce on a Beatles or John Lennon concert with an original poster. Celebrate the good ole days with this wall decor. In most ways, that's what Rocket Fizz is all about!