Tom Franks searches for safe and fun fireworks at Fireworks U.S.A. on Nelson Road. (Michelle Higginbotham / Special to the American Press)
Nathan Burt helps sell fireworks at Fireworks U.S.A. on Nelson Road in Lake Charles. (Michelle Higginbotham / Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 03, 2012 8:46 PM
Five-year-old Hadleigh Smith likes the party poppers the most.
“I just pull the string and it pops, and I don’t have to play with fire,” said Smith, who picked out fireworks alongside her grandmother. “Only the big ones scare me.”
Her grandmother, Bitsy Trahan, said she is looking forward to Wednesday because it’s a time to invite the family over, have a meal and swim, but it would not be the Fourth of July without shooting fireworks.
“We have spent as much as $1,000 on fireworks,” Trahan said at Fireworks USA Monday afternoon. “We all like particular items that are high in the sky that make a lot of color — that’s generally our favorites.”
Mike Bryan, manager at Fireworks USA on U.S. 90, said there is something for everyone, but that the holiday is all about family.
“That’s the reason why I like it,” Bryan said. “All these families and kids come in here, and everyone is happy. With fireworks you don’t have to persuade anyone. They’re coming here to have a good time.”
Bryan said business the last week has been steady but he expects to sell 85 percent of his inventory on July Fourth. He said his business has not really been affected by the recession.
“This is a specialty business,” Bryan said. “It is not a regular retail business. You’ll learn in marketing that specialty businesses are not always hurt as bad as the regular retail businesses because it’s not something you can buy every day.”
Bryan said weather has more to do with sales that anything else. Last year there was a burn ban in Jeff Davis and Cameron parishes, but no burn bans are reported this year in Southwest Louisiana.
“The burn ban cut our business in half,” Bryan said.
Terrance Angelo, owner of Angelo’s Fireworks, also had setbacks last year.
“We had the fire last year that burned down our warehouse,” Angelo said. “We’re in the middle of rebuilding the warehouse, but we’re just hoping the third and the Fourth carries us through.”
Angelo said customers are buying more of the high-dollar fireworks than some of the low-dollar items.
“The smallest thing can be as cheap as a nickel and the largest item is a $189.99 firework called The Instigator, which is an artillery shell box,” Angelo said. “It has 10 tubes with 87 shots.”
He said the large shots are really popular.
“You light one fuse, and it will go for two or three minutes,” Angelo said. “But the kids’ stuff is always going to sell.”