Spring opening planned for FiiZ Drinks soda bar in the village of Olde Pickerington

A couple from Pickerington hope to bring an old-fashioned soda bar with some modern touches to Olde Pickerington Village.

For the past 20 years, Brandon Gilbert has worked as an analyst in the financial industry, and his wife, Barb, has put aside a career in credit card customer service to be a stay-at-home mom.

But after Brandon began to suffer from burnout, the couple began to think about the next chapter in their lives.

That’s when a friend introduced them to FiiZ Drinks, a franchise chain of soda bars offering specialty drinks and sweet and savory snacks primarily in Utah, but also in Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and Texas.

“It has some of my favorite things,” Brandon said. “First of all, I love sodas, and I also love sugar cookies.”

After about 18 months of searching for a property to rent in Pickerington, the Gilberts in December purchased a building of about 1,100 square feet at 46 E. Columbus St., which once housed the Olde Village Diner.

They are now renovating the interior and hope to open in April or May.

“We thought this was the right place for our business,” Brandon said. “It’s near schools and a park, and it’s right along the parade route (for community parades).

“The interior will have a soda bar and an old-fashioned type of soda bar. There will be seating on site for you to sit and hang out, or you can pick up your order at the window (at steering wheel) and go.”

FiiZ will offer the only drive-thru in the Village of Olde Pickerington. The Pickerington Planning and Zoning Commission approved the feature in November, in part because franchisor FiiZ requires it.

As for products, the Gilberts said the company will focus on sodas. Other branded products, such as Coca-Cola or Dr. Pepper, will be available and drinks can be enhanced with a variety of flavors.

“The idea is to have a real personalized drink,” Brandon said.

Although they plan to offer other beverages like hot chocolate, smoothies and frozen drinks, the Gilberts won’t be selling coffee, largely because they don’t want to compete with Porter’s Coffee House and Bakery, which also operates out of Olde Pickerington Village at 194 W. Church St.

“We didn’t want to encroach on the customer base they had already established,” Barb said.

Additionally, the Gilberts plan to sell Italian sodas and sweet and savory snacks, including cookies, macaroons, soft pretzels, chips, popcorn and Cool Beads ice cream.

“FiiZ is a great addition to the Olde Village as it adds a new twist to the traditional concept,” said Dave Gulden, Economic Development Manager for Pickerington. “Drive-thru is always contextual to a specific site, and that particular site should work well and improve the Olde Village.

When it opened, Brandon said FiiZ will operate from around 8 a.m. to 10 or 11 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

He plans to have 10 to 15 employees initially, including the couple’s children, Mikyla, 18, Caden, 16, Melaina, 13 and Nalani, 11.

“We anticipate it will be a family business,” Brandon said. “We are looking to have them as part of the business.

“We hope it’s a place families want to take their kids, high school kids stop, middle school kids come, and a place grandma takes her grandkids to have a treat.”

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