With the New Year’s holiday just two days away, consumers are heading out to buy fireworks to light up the new year, and local fireworks vendors are stocked and ready.
“I always think of it like an orchestra playing music,” Kent Phillips of Fireworks Giant in North Augusta, said of customer traffic before the holiday. “It keeps building and building until you have the crescendo on New Year’s Eve. Then it’s over with.”
Phillips said business started picking up on Thursday, and will get busier through New Year’s Day.
“That’s usually how it is every year,” said Lee Eubanks, of Wacky Wayne’s on Whiskey Road in Aiken. “I guess everybody waits until the new year comes.”
Eubanks said the items in the store vary from smoke balls and firecrackers to bottle rockets and “finales.”
“Those big ones back there; the ones you set off at the end of your show,” Eubanks said.
The items range in price from 25 cents for small knickknacks to the $600 assortment package, which is about 5 feet tall.
“That’s full of pretty much every product we have in this store,” Eubanks said.
Many fireworks vendors agree: artillery shells – reload able fireworks shells that are shot one at a time – are in high demand this year.
Also known as mortar shells or cannons, Phillips said they are popular for a number of reasons.
“They do the big displays, like what you see at the shows,” he said. “And it all burns up in the air, so it’s not dangerous; it’s not going to put trash everywhere.”
“They’re real loud and they’re pretty in the sky,” said Chris Creel of Rodney’s Rockets, which is just feet away from Fireworks Giant in North Augusta.
Creel said the store is celebrating its grand opening, and is hoping to burst into the local fireworks market with a bang. Throughout the next few days, they’ll have a variety of sales and promotions, including buy-one-get-one free on some products.
“We have a little bit of everything,” he said. “We hope we get a lot more customers in. Business has been good so far in the first year, and I think it’s going to be pretty good.”
Phillips said it’ll be interesting to see how the neighboring businesses do for the holiday.
“That’ll be good for people,” he said. “We keep our prices really low because we buy a lot of stuff. It’s good to have something different.”
With many stores and vendors in Aiken County located so close to the Georgia state line, most are expecting a high number of customers from across the Savannah River, where any type of fireworks that explode or shoot into the air are illegal.
“We do see a lot of people from out of state,” Eubanks said. “They want to come and get some fireworks over here, so they can take it back to wherever they’re from.”
Teddy Kulmala covers the crime beat for the Aiken Standard. He is a graduate of Clemson University and hails from Williston.