Rocket Fizz candy store brings a sweet nostalgia to the Village at Winona

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By: Tom Westerhof

Tom Westerhof/Bites & Bitters

After watching an episode of “Undercover Boss” that featured Rocket Fizz, Greg Hartman decided that a journey into the past would be the key to his future.

Upon retiring from his job at Biomet in 2007, Hartman decided to enter the financial consulting field. “A lot of that consulting was for Dane and Mary Louise Miller,” he said. Dane, who was one of the cofounders of Biomet, and his wife, Mary Louise, were instrumental in the creation of the Village at Winona and Hartman had also been working with the Village since he left Biomet.

After viewing the “Undercover Boss” episode earlier this year that featured the candy and soda store, he commented to his wife that Rocket Fizz was exactly what the Village needed. He then discussed it with Ms. Miller (Dane had passed away in February) and she agreed to be his partner.

The shop opened its doors at the beginning of August, at 1005 E. Canal St. in Winona Lake.

Walking through Rocket Fizz is akin to stepping into the past, albeit a 1950s-like-Candy-Land past where Minions have been replaced by Fire Ants, popular cigarettes are of the candy variety and pop is still referred to as soda.

Taffy and soda are two of the real stars here, with 355 flavors of soda and 104 flavors of taffy available to satisfy any sweet tooth.

Not feeling the soda and taffy? Rocket Fizz also offers more than 1,000 other types of candy, ranging from blast-from-the-past favorites such as the aforementioned candy cigarettes, Abba-Zaba taffy candy bars, Nestle Chunky candy bars, Necco Candy Wafers and Charleston Chew candy bars to all the latest favorites such as Sour Patch Kids, Mentos, Starburst and Skittles.

Looking for some candy a little out of the ordinary? Rocket Fizz can help you with that as well, serving up Turkish Taffy, Swedish Fish, Color Bombs, Cupcake Gumballs, Bacon Toothpicks (I would eat chewy food just so I could have an excuse to use these toothpicks) and Fire Ants.

Rocket Fizz also sells items that can’t be digested (at least they highly recommend against it) and the inner child in you, whether you’re five, 15 or 50, will be delighted and enthralled by all of the gag gifts, novelties, tin signs, vintage concert posters and sepias that line its walls.

Looking forward as he operates a nostalgic store that in part pays homage to the past, Hartman is excited about drawing more people to the Village to experience not just his shop but the other shops as well.

Judging by the number of people who were in the shop or milling around outside when I visited, the future, and the past, are both looking bright for Rocket Fizz and the Village of Winona as a whole.

Rocket Fizz is located at 1005 East Canal Street in the Village at Winona in Winona Lake and according to its Facebook page, is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 am to 8 pm. Friday and Saturday.

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