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Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Ryan Steinacker, an employee at BJ Boomtown Fireworks, straightens up boxes of fireworks.
Bracing for post-July Fourth rush

Fireworks shoppers hunt for discounts


It's been two days since the rush for explosive supplies for the Fourth of July, but at Inferno Fireworks, employee Tatiana Brown still braced for another day of mayhem.

“Tomorrow is the crazy day when everyone comes,” she said of the expected rush for after-holiday sales.

Like so many other fireworks stores that pop up around this time of year in vacant storefronts, the Inferno Fireworks store on Lima Road offered discounts since the day it opened a few weeks ago, but it's after July 4 that stores really work to move merchandise.

So much so that shelves at some stores were half-empty Sunday as employees prepared to pack up what didn't sell.

Westfield resident Tony Laurenzana was one of those making the most out of discounted fireworks.

He and his family already went through their supply they bought for the holiday, so he needed to restock for the show he planned for his granddaughter's birthday.

His arsenal throughout the weekend included artillery shells, sparklers, fountains and sky lanterns.

“The kids liked those really well,” he said of the colorful lanterns that drift through the air.

This is the first time he's done fireworks for his granddaughter's birthday but figured he might as well make the most of the after-holiday discounts.

At BJ's Boomtown Fireworks on Coldwater Road, employee Ryan Steinacker worked to organize and package what supplies remained.

There was still plenty to choose from on the tables, but several areas were vacant, signs of the best-sellers for this season.

The store was apparently one of only a handful open two Sundays ago, which meant big business.

Steinacker estimated between $5,000 and $7,000 in sales that day.

It's his third year working in a fireworks store for the same owner and said today could be the store's last day of the year.

Rick Miller, at Freebie's Fireworks, has five times as much experience in the business as Steinacker.

Recalling his 15 years in the business, he said this year was “excellent” so far.

July 5 tends to be his busiest day after the holiday, with discounts enticing customers.

“They swamp you. They all want that big deal,” Miller said from the front steps of the fireworks shop at the corner of Sherman Boulevard and Spring Street. He's worked other locations, but spent most of his time at the Spring Street location.

Likewise, Brown, at Inferno Fireworks, attributes the after-holiday rush to discounts as much as 50 percent.

Despite the variety of inventory, the purveyors of all three of these stores agreed on the top-selling items for the season – anything that was really, really loud.

State law allows fireworks to be used between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. on days other than holidays. On holidays, like Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day and New Year's Eve, fireworks can be used between 9 a.m. and midnight.

Some cities and towns, including Fort Wayne, have more stringent requirements.

Fort Wayne's ordinance allows fireworks usage between 5 p.m. and two hours after dusk from June 29 to July 4 and again from July 5 to 9.

For July 4, as well as the day before and day of Labor Day, fireworks can be used from 10 a.m. to midnight.