PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – With so many municipalities postponing or canceling their Fourth of July fireworks displays, business at fireworks retailers is ‘booming.’
Due to the rising number of coronavirus cases, Crystal River announced it is postponing its display while Tampa and St. Petersburg announced on Wednesday there would be no Fourth of July fireworks put on by the cities.
Don Surenkamp has been in the fireworks business for nearly four decades and he is predicting this year will be a banner year.
“We’re seeing a lot of earlier sales, I mean our sales are way up,” said Surenkamp. “I talked to my competitors and their sales are way up. “
Surenkamp owns Patriotic Fireworks on U.S. 19 in Holiday, just north of the Pasco/Pinellas County line. He has a fully stocked store, not a fly by night tent that you see pop up right around the holidays.
“We sell a lot of fountains,” said Surenkamp. “We sell a lot of different assortments in case you just want to come in and pick up an assortment.”
But the boom in business for fireworks retailers has a down side. First responders are gearing up for a particularly busy Independence Day.
Clearwater Fire Marshal Chief Jim Warman says fireworks injuries can be quite serious.
“Burns, usually finger, leg and hand injuries from the explosion. We have some safety tips that we recommend,” said Warman. “First we recommend that you don’t do it.”
Another factor driving business this year is the law. It is now legal in Florida to buy and set off fireworks on the 4th of July, New Years Eve and New Year’s day, without signing a waiver.
In Surenkamp’s experience, fireworks can be enjoyable if handled with respect and handled safely. He and his staff also do what they can to educate buyers when they come into the store.
“We have a lot of first-time fireworks customers. And you know, if you have kids, and you’re a first-time fireworks customer, we’re not trying to put you in the big stuff,” said Surenkamp. “We’re telling you do the little fountains, you know? For mom to enjoy or the little kids to enjoy. “
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