Selling Fireworks is a Full-Time Job
One of Egan’s firework warehouses located a few miles outside Lincoln, Ne
Story and Photos by Will Grubb, NewsNetNebraska
Every year around the Fourth of July many parents take their children to a place where it is impossible for a little kid not to be awestruck. That place is the time-honored tradition of the fireworks stand.
Fireworks are a $940 billion a year industry, but in the state of Nebraska fireworks can only be on sale for 10 days leading up to July Fourth and three days around New Year’s Day. So what do firework retailers do for the rest of the year?
Betsy Egan, owner of Crazy Crackers Fireworks, has been selling fireworks full-time for 29 years.
“You would think it’s a one-month thing, but really it goes on for the whole year,” Egan said.
While Egan said those 10 days are the most hectic of her year, the work never stops. Crazy Crackers Fireworks has more than 30 fireworks stands and a bustling wholesale business. Outside Lincoln, Egan also has about five acres of warehouse space, which is constantly being stocked and restocked.
“When we’re not selling we’re reviewing the last year, what sold well, reviewing orders, renewing leases, reviewing our price lists, and working with our suppliers,” said Egan.
In past years Egan and her family have even made multiple trips to China to work directly with suppliers at reducing costs.
While Egan has been selling fireworks year round for 29 years, Kirk Myers, owner of Kracklin Kirks Fireworks, only began selling fireworks full time in 2011. He had been operating small stands for 18 years before deciding to retire from doing computer work for CSG Systems to focus on his growing fireworks business.
Myers now operates six stands in Nebraska and has a growing wholesale business he operates from his warehouses in Crete, Neb. Myers spends most of his year traveling around to trade shows looking into and testing new products.
Kirk Myers of Kracklin Kirks Fireworks at his facility in Crete. Ne
“During June and July I probably work over 100 hours a week, but for the rest of the year I still work 30 to 40 hour weeks,” Myers said.
He also holds fireworks demonstrations for his customers, including one last Monday night at Sarpy County Fair Grounds. Myers is constantly working to attract more customers and is considering making a trip to China himself to meet with suppliers.
This year all six of his stands will feature wireless Internet to give customers the option of liking Kracklin Kirks Facebook page while the customers are shopping. Myers, like any good business owner, said he is always trying to improve his profit margin, but he maintains it’s not about the money.
”I make enough to support my family, pay the mortgage and electric bill which keep going up every year,” said Myers. “It’s really about helping people, seeing a kid’s face light up.”
What started as a passion for Myers and Egan has now turned into a pair of growing businesses.Their passion for fireworks leaves them a big enough piece $940 billion firework industry to support their families and have fun doing it.