The Coast News Group
A Rocket Fizz employee pulls the last letters from the shops’s sign off the building on Wednesday. Photo by Ruarri Serpa
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Popular Vista soda, candy shop shutters its doors

VISTA — After five years in business, Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop has gone flat.

The popular candy shop across from the Cinépolis theater in Vista Village shuttered for good, on Wednesday, one day after making the announcement to its customers.

“HULK SAD!!! It’s been 5 years but now it’s time to say goodbye. EVERYTHING IS ON SALE. Stock up now on your favorite candy and soda at YUGE discounts,” said the post on the store’s Facebook page.

Owner Rob Fukutomi didn’t wish to speak about closing his store, but said it was a good time for him to move on.

He added that it was “a little challenging” running a business in that plaza, though he declined to explain further.

Rocket Fizz first notified customers that it was closing on Tuesday afternoon, but a subsequent Facebook post stated they weren’t sure what day would be their last.

On Wednesday, they closed for good, and one employee with the company’s corporate office said they were “on crunch time,” to pack up the remaining inventory and get out of the store.

Rocket Fizz is a national soda and candy chain, with locations across the country.

The local stores are independently owned, and it is unknown how other stores in the region, including San Clemente, Irvine, and Palm Springs, are affected by the Vista store’s closing.

As the last letters from the Rocket Fizz sign were being pulled off the building on Wednesday evening, dozens of customers stopped and showed their surprise.

“Every time I went in there it was a nice little place. It feels like a 1960s-1970s kind of deal — space age memorabilia,” said James Thorpe, from Fallbrook. “Instead of Reeses’ or M&Ms from the store, you go in there for interesting candies.”

Rocket Fizz’s Facebook announcement racked up hundreds of reactions and comments.

“I am so surprised everytime (sic) we go the place is filled with customers. You will be missed,” Antoinette Aubert wrote on their Facebook page, echoing a common feeling among the commenters.

The candy shop’s closure was reminiscent of other popular businesses in Vista Village closing in recent years.

Famous Dave’s Barbecue folded in 2015, and its owners cited high rent as the major factor for them going out of business, according to the Union-Tribune.

Rocket Fizz’s will be the fifth vacant storefront near the movie theatre, coming at a time when downtown Vista is undergoing rapid change.

In October, the City Council approved a five-story mixed-use building at the corner of Vista Village Drive and South Santa Fe Drive, as well as a 41 apartment development along the Buena Vista Creek, in December, both on vacant lots immediately adjacent to the plaza.

At the recently completed Paseo Pointe, a new mixed-use building just south of Vista Village, ground-floor shops have sat vacant, however, since the building was constructed in 2015.

Despite all the nearby vacancies, Rocket Fizz’s rapid closure has lead people to believe it too was a victim of             high rent.