A new local store carrying difficult-to-find candies and soda pop, tin signs, concert posters and gag gifts recently opened in North Naples.
“I think it’s unique to Naples. There’s nothing else like us right now here,” said Reka Monoki, the sole local franchisee of Rocket Fizz, a national chain of candy and soda pop shops.
Rocket Fizz opened Aug. 18 as the first business in the new Sutton Place retail center on the corner of Hollywood and Naples boulevards. Another franchisee launched a location two years ago in Gulf Coast Town Center, but that store has since closed.
“I’ve always had an interest in having my own business, and I’ve always had an interest in candy and soda,” said Monoki, who spent 25 years as an administrator with the New York and Collier County public schools.
“I’ve always liked children and being in that kind of atmosphere, and this is just something completely different from what I’ve done,” she said. “It’s a fun place, a happy place. I think anyone who comes in here will enjoy themselves. We have unique things to offer everyone. And it’s not really just for kids.”
The store has 250 flavors of soda, including scores of colas, cream sodas, root beers and fruit-flavored soft drinks. Of course, some of the soda flavors, such as pickle juice, are over the top.
“People have just gravitated toward that. They like pickles,” Monoki said. “The cucumber soda also does very, very well.”
The mustard soda smells like mustard but tastes like orangeade, she said. Then there are sodas with flavors such as apple pie, birthday cake, Buffalo wings, carrot cake, cotton candy, maple syrup, sweet corn, and peanut butter and jelly.
Rocket Fizz even has its own line of bizarre sodas, such as Grass Soda — “mowed and bottled in the USA.”
“One of the most bizarre ones we carry right now is the bacon soda,” she said. “And we have bacon with maple, as well, and bacon with chocolate.”
Well-known faces grace many bottles, such as ones featuring the classic rock group Kiss with its Destroyer Kola or Jimi Hendrix and his Hey Joe root beer and Purple Haze grape soda. You’ll find Marilyn Monroe’s wild cherry soda, Farrah Fawcett cream soda, Gene Autry root beer, Fidel Castro’s Havana Banana soda, The Three Stooges’ Wise Guy root beer, Wink Martindale’s Orange-Passion Fruit-Guava Soda, and even John Lemonade with a groaner of a tagline: “Imagine all the thirsty people.”
Customers enjoy reliving their childhoods with many national and regional name brands of soda, too.
“There are people who come from Kentucky, for example, who know Ale-8-One because that’s where it’s made,” Monoki said. “And then I have Faygo, which is a Michigan brand, so all the people from Michigan see that and they are like ‘Oh, my God.’ ”
Some bottles of soda are chilled in refrigerated cases, while many others are on store shelves.
“I can’t possibly get everything into the cooler,” she said.
Regular specials are available for mix-and-match soda purchases.
“If you buy a four-pack or if you buy a six-pack, you get a discount,” Monoki said. “We also have a promotion that if you buy single sodas, we punch your card each time you come in, and then after eight sodas your ninth one is free.”
The store also has 60 flavors of taffy such as eggnog, mimosa, passion fruit and pink grapefruit. Bags can be filled by customers of their favorite taffy flavors and bulk “penny” candies. A small bag is $7.99 and a large is $9.99.
“Nothing goes by weight. Everything goes to the top, so you don’t have to close it. Fill (the bags) as much as you can, as much as you want,” Monoki said.
The store even carries Japanese candy and plans to stock Mexican candies.
“My selection is pretty big, so there’s a little bit of everything for everyone,” she said. “I like all the candy personally, so I’m in heaven. I try not to eat it all day.”
Monoki’s favorite childhood candies include Razzles gum, Pop Rocks and ZotZ fizzy candy. She works with 22 vendors that supply candy, and she even takes requests.
“If I don’t have something like Zagnut, which is one of the things that people requested, I can get it,” she said. “On my next purchase, I’ll make sure I bring it in.”
The store also sells miscellaneous items, including ball caps, lunchboxes, gag gifts and party favors. Tin signs, many throwbacks to an earlier era, also are popular. The fifth one is free with the purchase of four.
Rocket Fizz, 6270 Naples Blvd., Unit 6, North Naples, is open every day, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. For more information call 239-593-0104 or go to rocketfizz.com.