During a recent sojourn to Utah, Ben and Heather Cichelli concocted a drink that changed their lives.
Now, the couple is bringing that drink — a blend of Diet Coke, coconut syrup, and fresh lime dubbed The Coco — and many others to the Town of Vienna, where they will open a new soda shop, Coco’s Sodas + Sweets.
“We are excited to bring a new beverage concept to NoVa as we open our first location in Vienna on Maple Avenue,” Ben Cichelli, the store’s owner, told FFXnow by email.
Scheduled to open on Monday, May 23, Coco’s will be in Suite 110 of the shopping center at 513 Maple Avenue West, just across the street from Wawa and within walking distance of James Madison High School.
Coco’s will represent a step into the unknown for the Cichellis.
A native of Montgomery County, Ben works in marketing, helping clients like Herndon-based Audi of America obtain sponsorships for Major League Soccer, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard team, and other sports organizations. Heather is a designer who specializes in custom residential and commerical buildings.
Though the couple has lived in Northern Virginia since 2012, they spent most of 2021 living in Utah, where Heather has roots in Salt Lake City.
While there, the family got into the habit of frequenting the soda shops that Ben says could be found on nearly every block in the state. The shops offer a base soda, such as Coke or Dr. Pepper, that customers then mix with flavored syrup and fresh fruit.
“It became something our whole family looked forward to and enjoyed together!” Ben said. “The unique drinks, especially fun kids drinks, were so different from anything we had seen in the D.C. area. As we prepared to move back to [Virginia], we believed a similar concept would do well in NoVa.”
An alternative to coffee shops for a substantial Mormon community that abstains from hot caffinated drinks, “dirty soda” shops have started to expand beyond Utah over the past decade, thanks to chains like Swig and Sodalicious.
However, the trend has yet to reach Northern Virginia. Upon moving back to Virginia last summer, the Cichellis relocated to Vienna and decided its small-town atmosphere would make it an ideal spot to introduce the concept.
“We instantly fell in love with the eclectic mix of retail along Maple Avenue and saw an opportunity to bring Coco’s to life,” Ben said.
In addition to a full line of sodas, Coco’s will serve flavored water and energy drinks, with sugar-free options available. Kid-oriented items will include “the Jaws,” a Sprite filled with Blue Curaco syrup, whipped cream, and gummy sharks.
There will also be desserts, such as a chilled sugar cookie with frosting, and the store will offer shaved ice from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
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