LANSING TOWNSHIP — Before Mike Pitsch watched an episode of "Undercover Boss" in 2015, he'd never heard of Rocket Fizz soda pop and candy shop.
Rocket Fizz is a California-based retail store franchiser that sells its own line of uniquely flavored sodas along with a large selection of candies.
Rob Powells, the president and co-founder of Rocket Fizz, went undercover for the TV show, working alongside employees at several locations.
"When I saw the episode a couple years ago, I looked it up, and there were none in Michigan at the time," Pitsch said. "And I thought, 'Well, that’s got to change.'"
And it did. A year ago, Pitsch and his wife, Jodi, opened a Rocket Fizz location in Grand Rapids.
Now, the couple is preparing to open a second store at Eastwood Towne Center in a space in the center court area next to Venetian Nail Salon. Their goal to open is early November.
"When Rocket Fizz stores open in communities, people think it’s like a spaceship has landed in town," Rocket Fizz co-founder Mike Powells said.
"With the thousands of candies and sodas and the music and all the colors. It’s kind of like an out-of-this-world sort of experience people tell us."
Besides the more than 100 salt water taffy selections, the store will sell hundreds of different candies, from classic to current ones.
"It’s like an old-time, classic candy store," Pitsch said.
Some of the nostalgic candies include Astro Pops, Bottle Caps, Chuckles, Nik-L-Nips (wax bottles), Slo-Poke, Wacky Wafers and Zots.
They carry a line of European and Japanese candies as well.
"We have about 500 different varieties of soda in the store," Pitsch said. "We’ve got some crazy, weird flavors, like Buffalo Wild Wings, Ranch Dressing, Bacon and Mustard."
A few of the other sodas the new Rocket Fizz will have include Birthday Cake, Martian Poop, Peaches and Cream, and Rocket Fuel.
"Then we have some old classic ones as well, like Moxie, Ale 8 One, Cheerwine and Nehi grape," Pitsch said. "Nehi grape was on 'M*A*S*H' back in the day. Remember, Radar used to drink it on 'M*A*S*H'? That’s a good classic flavor, for sure."
Powells says Rocket Fizz's hard to find candy and "crazy sodas" are the most popular items. They have their own bottling plant in California and have more than 500 sodas in glass bottles. They bottle about 125 or 130 varieties themselves.
"We have really funny sodas, like bacon flavored, Martian, and Barf soda," Powells said.
"Barf soda is probably the best tasting soda you’ll ever have in your life. It's actually an orange, pineapple guava, and it’s a fantastic soda. The taste is fantastic."
And they use real sugar, not imitation sugar, he said.
"We also flash pasteurize so we don’t use all these preservatives in our sodas," Powells said. "We try to make it as healthy as possible for people."
Rocket Fizz also carries hundreds of retro and gag gifts, toys, concert posters, magic tricks, tin signs and gift baskets.
"There’s not a square inch of space in the store without product in it ..." Pitsch said. "You’ll never see it all on the first trip. It will take multiple trips to see everything. And we’re always changing the product line up."
The business is one of about 100 franchise locations. The Lansing store will be the fifth location in Michigan.
Pitsch says the store is for kids of all ages, as well as their parents and grandparents.
"Grandparents come in the store and say 'we haven’t seen this since we were kids,'" Pitsch said.
"Parents come in with their little kids and all the kids go crazy in the store, too. So, it’s really for anybody. There are so many things from all different generations."
Rocket Fizz on OWN Network
Rocket Fizz will appear on episode 7 of the show "Mind your Business with Mahishna," Saturday, Sept. 22. The episode, "It’s Poppin’ Off At Aunt Emma’s Popcorn," will air at 10 p.m.on the OWN Network.