Growing up, we always had a little shop, a shop filled with gag gifts, toys, records (The one near my house always carried the top 30 hits of the week on 45.) And candy. Lots and lots of candy.
On this rainy summer afternoon, after a nice brunch, my 13 year old and I stopped at the town candy shop called Rocket Fizz, a place we’d never been before.
What a hoot is this place. And what a throwback to my childhood…at least somewhat.
The places I hung out were often small and dingy. Parents were almost never to be found.
Here, though, we saw crowds of teens moving in and out…boyfriends and girlfriends, parents and kids, you name it. And the kids working there, were forever re-stocking candy and bottles.
It’s about as crazy full of candy as any place I’d ever seen. But not just your average candy. It’s full of stuff we saw growing up. Nesco wafers and Clark bars and Pixie Stix, not to mention all the usual suspects, like Mike and Ike, and Nerds.
Beyond all the mounds and mounds of candy, they had the most bizarre collection of soda. I can’t remember all the flavors, but I do recall seeing a bottle with Osama bin Laden’s picture and a reference to Seal Team 6. Also one with Stalin on the label…something about The REAL Red Soda.
But candy and soda were not the only points of interest. Here were the gag toys I remember…some of them updated, some of them exactly the same. Chattering teeth, finger puppets, Grow Your Own Therapist…quite a collection.
As if all this isn’t enough, I asked the gal at the counter what these little Asian packages of Kit Kats were.
Sold in Japan, they are flavored: Raspberry, Green Tea and Sweet Potato. She told me the sweet potato flavor supposedly tastes great heated in the microwave.
Hmmm…think I’ll stick with the old-fashioned American chocolate version, thanks.
We left with a bag full of Ring Pops, a Toblerone, and bottle of Virgil’s Root Beer (for me).
I love retail.
And I love being reminded that shopping should be fun. We all need a reason to come out of the house to shop, a reminder that everything doesn’t have to be a big box store with giant aisles.
Here’s to the little shops, the fun ones, with color and humor and inspiration and reasons for me to return. Here’s to the places where no one working or shopping looks weary or bored or defeated, where delight and surprise is around every turn, in every bin, where the unusual can still be found and the silly still has a purpose. Where you can spend only a few bucks and walk away feeling like you found a treasure.
Rocket Fizz, we’ll be back.