Judging by the number of individuals and families lined up at Pahrump’s fireworks retailers, business appears to be booming at present.
One such outlet is Red Apple Fireworks, located at 3640 South Highway 160, the first such business for motorists as they arrive in Pahrump from Clark County.
Owner Doug Burda noted since he reopened the store on May 9th, transactions have been pretty much non-stop during business hours.
“We have just been slammed since then, and we literally cannot keep up at this point,” he said. “It’s good and bad, because we pride ourselves on customer service, and we like to give individual attention to everybody, but we are really having trouble meeting our own expectations. In a lot of ways, it’s positive because it keeps us working, and that’s a good thing.”
Due to the upsurge in foot traffic, Burda said he is looking to immediately hire additional employees.
“We here at Red Apple Fireworks are looking for some seasonal help for the next four weeks, because we are going to be slammed at the store and we are currently looking for any help we can find for almost all positions,” he said. “If anyone is interested in applying, they can come down and ask to speak to a manager, and we will give them the paperwork right there. We do all of our background checks of course, but we do that quickly. If you pass all of the background checks, we will hire you in 24 hours.”
Regarding the long lines of customers looking to purchase fireworks, Burda credited his business’ social media platform.
“You can call it happenstance or you can call it an orchestrated plan, but really, our marketing has always been one of our strong suits,” he said. “Our new website, which serves customers all over the country, was active about a week after the travel bans went into action, so we immediately had an influx of business on our website for people who were stuck at home but still wanted fireworks delivered to their house. The website is redapplefireworks.com.”
Burda also spoke about the benefits of customers coming in from out of town to shop at his business.
He noted that people from Washington, Texas, Florida, New Hampshire, and Michigan have all dropped by to make their purchases.
“We get them from all over the country and it’s incredible,” he said. “They have heard so much about us and our products, that they just don’t want to order it online, but they actually do want to come in and see the store, and meet the people. The beauty of it is they are not just coming to visit us, but they then they get a hotel room, then go out to eat. They are hanging out and exploring the natural beauty in Pahrump.”
Just up the highway from Red Apple Fireworks is Blackjack Fireworks, located at 1181 S. Highway 160.
Manager Jance Neel also said sales at her location have been exceptional this year.
“Sales have been going really, really well and people are excited to be back into the stores and shopping,” she said. “They are excited to celebrate their independence day, and we are always happy to help the customers. We also get a lot of out-of-state business. We know a lot of California residents also live here, and we can legally sell fireworks to anyone who is of age, no matter where they are from. We have also had to hire more staff to keep up with the demand.”
Making ends meet
Neel also spoke about how her business is able to stay afloat during other times of the year, aside from the Fourth of July.
“The other times people purchase fireworks are for New Year’s Eve, the Chinese New Year, birthdays, graduations and even funerals,” she noted. “The most interesting one I had was actually they were buying an aerial firework and they were going to put their loved one’s ashes inside. It was really cool but it was unfortunate for the family. They wanted to do something memorable to celebrate the person’s life. Usually people start shopping for fireworks here in March, because we are open all year-round. We are closed on certain holidays, but with the COVID-19 virus, we were not able to be open to the public for a while.”
Additionally, Neel talked about what types of fireworks customers are purchasing this year.
“Everybody has their own likes but a lot of people prefer to buy the aerials, mortar shells, and the safe and sane and family packs,” she said. “You also have your older generations who love the firecrackers and bottle rockets because that’s what they grew up with, so it all differs. We have great, great customers here at Blackjack Fireworks, and I’m sure the other retailers have great customers who shop all year-round. The way we can stay afloat is through our great customers who are energetic and enthusiastic about fireworks.”
Location, location, location
Burda, meanwhile, spoke about the importance of location in relation to the three other fireworks businesses in town.
“People coming in along Highway 160 will see our fireworks business first,” he said. “We actually didn’t do it on purpose when we first moved in because we actually wanted to be a little closer to the heart of the town when we were first looking 10 years ago. Everyone knows that if they want to check out the competitors, they are all sort of clustered together in the madness of the Highway 160 and 372 intersection. But if you are looking for a little more relaxed environment and better customer service and of course better product, then people know that they can come to Red Apple Fireworks and have a better experience in general. I feel like it’s really been serendipitous that this has become our side of town, so to speak.”
It should be noted that both retailers are requiring employees to wear face masks while on duty.
Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @pvtimes