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Rocket Fizz in a sweet spot at The Waterfront

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
PTRTKSNACKS01033116
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Customers at Rocket Fizz at The Waterfront browse the vast selection of candies and sodas on Friday, March 25, 2016.
PTRTKSNACKS02033116
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop at The Waterfront carries 700 sodas and more than 2,000 candies.

Adam King grabs the Nik-L-Nip wax bottles — candy filled with sugary liquid.

“I have been looking for this everywhere,” says the 9-year-old. “We will definitely be coming back here.”

Adam is referring to a store full of tasty treats and sweetened drinks called Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop in The Waterfront in Homestead.

Adam, his sister, Maya, 14, and their mother, Leslie Loberant from Squirrel Hill, were driving by and had to stop in.

“The selection is fantastic,” Loberant says.

“Look at all the soda choices,” Maya says. “And I really like chocolate, and they have lots of chocolate.”

The store carries 700 sodas and more than 2,000 candies. The selections are constantly changing, with many favorites readily available. The store is sold through franchises. This one is owned by the North Side’s Larry Lang, who is chief operating officer, and his wife, Gina Lang, who is the chief executive officer.

Based in California and founded in 2007 by Robert Powells and Ryan Morgan, Rocket Fizz was featured on CBS’ “Undercover Boss.” Gina Lang saw the TV show and encouraged her husband to check it out.

“I thought, candy, really?” says Larry Lang, who brings 35 years of experience in the restaurant business to this venture. “But then I watched and thought, ‘This really could be it.’ I didn’t want to own a restaurant or bar, so this was the perfect fit.”

The 2,000-square-foot shop, which opened Feb. 4, is in the ultimate location, Larry Lang says, just steps away from AMC Loews Waterfront 22, with many restaurants and bars nearby and lots of walk-by traffic.

A second Pittsburgh-area store is planned for Robinson, says David Glickman, director of the Newmark Grubb Knight Frank Retail Group, Downtown.

“It’s a very exciting concept,” Glickman says. “There’s an opportunity for high growth. Rocket Fizz is a fun place that attracts a lot of people, and the product choices are amazing.”

Selections include Snow Cones Mallow Cones, Sixlets, root-beer barrels, Smarties, Jolly Ranchers, Ice Cubes, Necco Wafers and Satellite Wafers, which they can’t keep in stock. You can find pretty much any candy bar from Milky Way to Chunky to premium chocolate. Most candy bars cost $1.50 to $7.

Customers often ask about Marathon bars and Sen-Sen, licorice-flavored breath-freshener squares, which Larry Lang says he can’t find but continues to search for.

They also have European and Asian candies and carts set up in the store full of sweet choices. The kid’s cart includes gummy rats and colorful whirly pops. There is a bacon cart and bins filled with bulk candy, including salt water taffy in flavors such as tangerine, strawberry cheesecake, red velvet cake, maple bacon and gingerbread. A small bag is $5.99 and a large is $7.99.

Most pop is $2.19 a bottle. Flavors include bacon, sweet corn, pumpkin pie, buffalo wing and ranch dressing. Rocket Fizz has its own label of drinks, such as marshmallow, s’mores, black licorice and cinnamon. Bottles can be personalized if you buy a case.

They sell other novelties, including re-creations of tins, concert posters and pictures of celebrities. Tins are $15.99, posters are $9.99 and photos are $4.99.

“It’s about nostalgia,” Larry Lang says. “It’s about coming in here and remembering your childhood.

“It’s an experience as much as a shopping trip. People who come in here are happy. … How can you not be? It’s sugar. It’s like a kid’s (and sometimes an adult’s) first time at Disney.”

Rocket Fizz is at 255 W. Bridge St., Waterfront, Homestead. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 7 p.m. Sundays. Details: 412-462-6462 or rocketfizz.com

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. She can be reached at [email protected] or 412-320-7889.

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