bring you a blast
They pop up every summer, like mushrooms, overnight. Suddenly, tents dot the landscape around the county, with hordes of people milling about them to get their yearly dose of fireworks fun. The workers inside are abuzz with activity, getting ever more frantic as Independence Day approaches. But where do they come from?
Jack Roland of Seymour has hoisted his share of tents. Fifty-six by last count, all over the state and in surrounding ones too. His job – get the tents up fast, because the window of opportunity for sales is narrow. Fireworks are a product that must be served fresh: the longer they sit, the less bang you get for your buck.
It’s a concept that Joe White, co-owner of Liberty Fireworks for which Jack Roland is cranking up canvas, knows well. He operates five outlets in the county, and started installing them on June 19. They’ll be inviting folks in to purchase wares well into the Fourth of July holiday weekend, then they’ll fade once more into the countryside until next year.
His operation donates a portion of their proceeds to local churches, which approach him each year for an opportunity to participate. “I started as a pastor myself in Glasgow, Kentucky,” he told The Herald, “And I know how important funding is to area churches. One church in Greeneville is helping to pay for a new sanctuary by partnering with us.”
He also makes it a point to hire mostly local folks to manage and staff the outlets. That pays back to the community a portion of the money they spend in purchases. Each dollar spent on local business can “turn over” as many as nine times.
Larry and Christine Parker of Seymour, who own Parker Fireworks with 16 locations around the southeast, are keen on local focus as well. Their operation at the intersection of Chapman Highway and Maryville Highway in Seymour employs Brandon and Sandy Clark as managers of the outlet, who live just a short distance away.
“We’ll keep enough staff on hand to serve our customers well,” Brandon told The Herald, “Until ‘crunch time’ comes. When people start coming in droves we’ll have up to ten more staff on hand to serve them.”
That crunch time usually happens on the third of July, and this year the holiday is on a Friday. That means extra sales for Brandon and his staff.
“We’ll stay open on Saturday the fifth too,” he said, “And depending on foot traffic maybe even the following Sunday.”
The Parkers wont disappear with the fading fireworks. They operate a store in Cosby year-round.