AMMON – Since its launch in October 2021, Hip Sip has earned a steady stream of returning customers, some of which make multiple visits a day.
The drink shop at 1615 Market Way in Ammon has a menu of more than 50 different sodas, protein drinks and other flavorful beverages. One of the most popular is the flower child — a drink with water, sugar-free coconut, vanilla and chunks of frozen mango topped off with coconut cream.
The impostor is a chocolate protein drink that tastes like a brownie (there are even chocolate chunks inside). It’s made with vanilla almond milk and vanilla cream. The vsco chick is a sprite-based drink with raspberry puree and vanilla.
EastIdahoNews.com sampled these items, which you can watch in the video above.
Owner Candace Jones’ love for soda began many years ago. She grew up in Washington, D.C., but she lived in Utah for a time where she has fond memories of visiting different soda shops with her husband.
“We just loved it. It was fun to try different combinations and it was just something to do if you wanted to go for a quick drive,” Jones tells EastIdahoNews.com.
They moved to Idaho Falls in 2018 for her husband’s job. Getting a soda at Sonic became a popular pastime.
“It was our little thing. It was our cheap date that we’d take our kids on and go get a half-price soda. So it’s always been something nostalgic for us,” Jones says.
Jones would venture to other soda shops to learn her way around town. She got acquainted with many of the people who worked there. Many of them were teenagers who went to school with her kids.
Jones formed connections with employees and over time, this daily ritual evolved into something much more than ordering a soda.
“I really liked the energy of feeling connected during that 30-second interchange everyday,” says Jones. “I was just like, ‘I want to provide that for people. I want to provide a place where they can show up and feel seen.’ If it’s the one connection they have with a human, I want it to be a good experience.”
The space on Market Way was appealing to Jones because it was attached to another restaurant, Taqueria El Rodeo, which allowed her to offer seating inside and not just a drive-thru.
Adding a personal touch
Finding human connection at a soda shop seems to be a winning formula. In the last 17 months, Jones says she’s acquired a large following of customers, many of whom visit the business daily, or even multiple times a day.
Customers have invited her employees to family barbecues, boating trips and other gatherings while ordering at the drive-thru. She’s grateful to her team for providing a positive environment for patrons. She’s amazed at the deep connections they’ve formed with people during such a brief exchange.
“We write on all the cups what the drink order is,” Jones explains. “(My employees) take it one step further when they write ‘Happy Birthday,’ ‘Have a great day,’ or ‘Remember to smile.’ It shows they know the customers.”
Jones knows one woman who saves her cups so she can go back and read the messages employees leave her.
“We’re hitting it at a different level,” she says. “There’s a genuine love and friendship between people here and that’s cool to see.”
Jones’ personal touch is a peach ring she places over the straw on every order. It was her favorite candy growing up and she says it’s something she does to stand out from competitors.
Human connection is something many people are craving in today’s world, says Jones, and that’s her main focus as she thinks about the future of the business. She wants to expand in places where she feels like she can make a difference.
“I have people who drive here from Blackfoot or Rigby every day just to (visit) Hip Sip and see our employees,” says Jones. “We do have plans to grow, but with very strategic intention. It’s not about volume, traffic or visibility, it’s about where we are needed next.”
Hip Sip is open seven days a week with varying hours. It’s open Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and a 9 p.m. closing time on Friday. Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.