Rocket Fizz, a candy and soda shop, is opening in the former Daddy Kool space in St. Petersburg

Central Avenue’s 600 block is getting an old-school candy store.
The Rocket Fizz store in Clearwater.
The Rocket Fizz store in Clearwater. [ Courtesy of Rocket Fizz Clearwater ]
Published Aug. 27, 2019|Updated Aug. 27, 2019

Rocket Fizz, a colorful purveyor of old-school candies and specialty sodas in flavors such as ranch, buffalo wing, pumpkin pie and sweet corn, is moving into the former Daddy Kool Records space on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg.

The St. Petersburg store is opening under the same franchisees who operate locations in Wesley Chapel and Clearwater. Rocket Fizz sells close to 500 flavors of soda, including more traditional tastes like root beer, birch beer and cream soda, along with hard-to-find candy like Pop Rocks and Zots and novelty gags such as rubber roaches and “shocking” packs of gum.

Though there are around 90 Rocket Fizz stores, it’s a chain that “doesn’t have the big corporate feel,” franchisee Amber Patterson wrote in an email. “The founders, Ryan and Rob, actually funded the venture through selling fake poop.” You know, like rubber dog doodoo.

Patterson expects the St. Petersburg Rocket Fizz to be open by the end of October.

The adjoining storefront on the corner at 670 Central Ave. is set to become a new outpost for Hopdoddy Burger Bar, records filed with the Florida Department of State show. The growing Texas-based chain offers a dozen varieties of burgers, shakes, a full-liquor bar and a wide selection of craft beer. The only Hopdoddy in Florida opened in Orlando in February.

Daddy Kool Records closed shop after 20 years on Central Avenue and opened in a new location in the Warehouse Arts District after rent for its space at 666 Central Ave. tripled from $3,000 to $9,000 a month, owner Manny “Manny Kool” Matalon told the Tampa Bay Times in February.

Times Entertainment Critic Jay Cridlin called Daddy Kool “one of the last vestiges of the music scene on downtown’s 600 block," which also saw recently the closures of two neighboring music venues, the Local 662 in 2017 (now a Maple Street Biscuits) and Fubar, which remains vacant, in December.

RELATED: Artists and punks mourn closing of Fubar on Central Ave.

Other recent additions to the block include Brass Bowl Kitchen & Juicery, which opened in March in the former Suncoast Medicare Supply space.

RELATED: This week’s Tampa Bay restaurant and bar openings