Rocket Fizz pops up in new East Lansing storefront


With more than 550 specialty sodas in their inventory, plus more than 1,000 varieties of taffy and candy, the owners of the Rocket Fizz franchise formerly located in the Eastwood Towne Center knew they needed more space.

On Feb. 7, Mike and Jodi Pitsch and their employees made the move from their former 1,100-square-foot shop to a 1,900-square-foot storefront near the corner of Grand River and M.A.C. avenues in East Lansing. They celebrated the move with a grand-opening event last Friday (March 15).

The Greater Lansing location is the couple’s second Rocket Fizz franchise. They opened their first in Grand Rapids in 2017 after being inspired by a 2015 episode of the reality TV show “Undercover Boss” that featured Rocket Fizz co-founder and president Robert Powells.

At the time, the Pitsches had been running their Grandville gaming and pop-culture shop, the Gaming Warehouse, for seven years.

“I was looking for something else to expand into. I saw the show and thought a soda and candy shop looked like something that would be fun to do,” Mike Pitsch said.

A year later, in 2018, the couple opened their second Rocket Fizz location in Lansing.

“We always knew we wanted to do multiple stores. That was always one of the goals for us, and it was simply a no-brainer to come here,” Pitsch said.

Aside from the two franchises the couple owns, additional Michigan Rocket Fizz stores have cropped up in Traverse City, Byron Center, Kalamazoo, Shelby Township and Ann Arbor.

The new East Lansing digs offer plenty of room for wall-to-wall product displays. In addition to the hundreds of specialty soda flavors, the shop also sells novelty items, concert posters, tin signs and more.

“The college students are decorating their apartments and dorms with them,” Pitsch said, “so they’ve been a big sell so far, and we’ve seen a huge increase in sales on those versus the last location.”

Still, the biggest draw is the sweets.

“Rocket Fizz has a whole line of its own sodas. A lot of them are really crazy. They’ll have weird flavors or funny labels. We also have licensed sodas, including Farrah Fawcett and ‘The Wizard of Oz’ soda, Three Stooges root beer, all kinds of stuff like that. That’s probably only about a quarter of our soda offerings that we have here, though,” Pitsch said.

Some of the drinks are especially ridiculous, like Rocket Fizz’s notorious barf-flavored soda.

“Barf’s actually not that bad. The flavor is kind of fruity,” Pitsch said with a laugh. “We also have flavors like mustard and black olive. Those aren’t great, I’m not going to lie.”

Being so close to Michigan State University, Pitsch said another draw, especially for foreign students looking for a taste of home, is the selection of imported Japanese and European candies.

“Those are also very popular because you just don’t see them anywhere else,” he said.

Pitsch, who lives in Grand Rapids with his wife, said he’s been in East Lansing about five days a week since the new storefront opened for business. Once things start to settle, he’ll turn the keys over to his five employees and plans on visiting about twice a week to check in.

“Making the move after our lease ran out at Eastwood has already made a huge difference in sales for us,” he said. “The customers and businesses around us have been fantastic, and it’s just a really great move for everyone involved.”


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

Connect with us