The Delmar Loop has long been a site of novelty for Washington University students—a historically preserved area that is as touristy as St. Louis gets, it’s the nearest place that students can get without a car and poke around just for a simple change of scenery. In fact, now that student living has expanded to a high-profile location on the historic six-block district, it is even more of a Wash. U. venture, barely even separate from campus.
Wash. U. students support Loop business and culture by hosting benefits for their organizations at the Loop’s many restaurants, frequenting Three Kings Pub and sifting through the merchandise at stores that are touristy but with a twist. When visiting the Loop, one is likely to see more fellow students than local area residents. However, a new addition to the district’s shopping offerings, franchised candy shop Rocket Fizz, bridges the gap between the transplanted young’uns and local folk looking to reminisce.
The key to Rocket Fizz’s brilliance is in its simplicity. The walls are covered with kitschy posters, many themed as callbacks to the 1950s or ’60s, that blur the line between merchandise and decor. I picked up two to decorate my previously bland room: one advertises the Woodstock festival of 1969 and the other two films of the early 20th century, one of which is titled “Confessions of a Sorority Girl” and seems like it must’ve been incredibly scandalous for the day.
The retro feel doesn’t end with the posters, either: the sodas that give the store its saccharine name are all served in glass bottles with the old-fashioned caps that are always impossible to open. With extravagant flavors such as barbecue and bacon prevalent on the shelves next to classic favorites such as Sprite and Cherry Vanilla Coke, my guess is that these serve more as novelty gift items than as beverages one would enjoy with a meal.
The candy itself varies from the expected to the bizarre. For the chocoholic, there’s every variety of treat imaginable, from Japanese green-tea flavored Kit Kats to large chocolate bars infused with the kinds of spices you’d usually only find in the fieriest dish at a Mexican restaurant. Old favorites like rock candy and candy cigarettes are featured despite the fact that they’re difficult to find in most stores nowadays. Are you a fan of saltwater taffy? Look no further—every flavor imaginable is overflowing in its bin, brightening the store with the colors of childhood.
Although a candy shop wouldn’t be anyone’s first idea for what students direly need near to campus, the addition of Rocket Fizz to the Delmar Loop was a smart one. With an inviting interior chock-full of the promise of sugar highs and good times, it’s the perfect place for students to spend time browsing in groups. It also doesn’t alienate older generations like other Loop stores such as Avalon Exchange or Sunshine Daydream might—I’m sure that my parents, and many others, will want to visit Rocket Fizz both for its nostalgic and wholesome qualities over the upcoming Parents and Family Weekend.
Most importantly, the idea of a fully stocked candy shop only a few blocks from the library will surely brighten many students’ stressful days. So remember, when Organic Chemistry gets you down for the millionth time this semester, just take a short walk and get yourself some much-deserved candy.