Despite relocation, fireworks sales good

Published 6:00 am Monday, December 29, 2008

Jess Greer and his family have an annual ritual: They like to”pop the firepoppers” every year.

“Generally we wait until New Year’s Eve to get them,” he said.”We usually get the sparklers for the girls, then my wife getsthose big cannon things that make all the sparkles, those are herfavorites.”

Greer said he and his wife Stephanie have upheld their traditionof New Year’s fireworks for the 14 years they have been married. Hesaid his two oldest daughters Sydney, 11, and Lyndey, 7, like toparticipate, and while Carley, 17 months, is not old enough to bein on the fun, she likes to watch.

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“We’ve gotta pop the firepoppers,” he said. “We usually startright after dark with their sparklers, and the big ones we save andsend them off just at midnight.”

Firework sellers say Greer is pretty standard for people whoshoot off fireworks each year, waiting until New Year’s Eve tostock up, but there are those who get started early. For thatreason, said Robbie’s Fireworks owner Robbie Covington, his tentsare up by mid-December.

“We actually start somewhere around Dec. 15,” he said. “Butabsolutely New Years Eve is by far the busiest day of theseason.”

Hale’s Fireworks Manager William Shoop agreed that most peopleshow up at the last minute, and that their shelves simply have tobe stocked accordingly.

“It’s slow early, but then New Year’s Eve and the day before, wedon’t have anything left,” he said.

Meanwhile, Robbie’s employee Tara Goff said her stand tends tofill up on the weekdays just after work lets out. Then the weekendscan be hit or miss.

“We were full all day yesterday,” she said Saturday. “But thenthe weekends are sporadic so far.”

One thing that had worried sellers early on was the ban onfireworks within the city limits that caused many them to have torelocate and that it might take a bite out of sales.

“It really hasn’t affected business,” Covington said. “It justtakes time for people to find where we are.

Hale’s assistant manager Adam Riley said it’s tough to call sofar what kind of effect the move will have on their business.

“I think most people know where we are,” he said. “We’ve beenadvertising it. But you’ll have to check back with us after the newyear.”

And while it would seem the national economic crisis might breakinto the amount of cash people are willing to lay down for thingslike celebratory extras, fireworks are still selling well,Covington said.

“The economy is not affecting us this year either, we’reactually doing well with it the way it is,” he said. “People arestill celebrating. We have 20 locations altogether, and sales areup everywhere.”