The Fourth of July season can be a time of year for celebration for individuals or families seeking sparklers, bottle rockets or things that go boom. But it’s also a peak period for retailers that deal in fireworks supplies.
Doug Burda, owner of Red Apple Fireworks at 3610 S. Highway 160, knows the scene all too well when Fourth of July shoppers head in to stock up.
“Once July Fourth gets closer, it gets wall-to-wall, you can’t move,” Burda said.
Red Apple carries products for the average user such as the 200-shot Effect Missile Barrage, which runs about $12.
For shoppers hoping to light up the night sky, Red Apple sells by the case with packages such as the Bone Shaker, which costs more than $300.
Burda, once a practicing attorney in Detroit, was looking for something different to do when he decided to get into the business. His family has been in the business for about four decades in his hometown, where his parents own Motor City Fireworks.
Burda came to Pahrump about seven years ago and has seen a variety of customers.
Customers are “willing to drive across the country for unique fireworks at a good price,” he said.
Burda said he’s seen customers from as far north as Washington state and other areas, including Missouri and Pennsylvania, along with drivers passing through from California to Las Vegas or vice versa.
There is also a good base in the local market.
“We do have a lot of locals, I would say that Red Apple fireworks is the local choice,” he said.
Red Apple also ships across the U.S., though the operation can’t ship everywhere, as many states have restrictions on what can be delivered there.
State of the industry
Business has been good for Burda and he is now in the midst of an expansion.
Burda took over an empty 9,000-square-foot space in June that once housed the shuttered Custom Health &Fitness in the New Pahrump Professional Office shopping center, where his original 4,000-square-foot location sits. Overall, Burda is now in about 13,000 square feet of space, he said.
The industry has been growing.
According to data from the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA), the consumer fireworks industry had $600 million in revenue in 2006 on a national level. Last year, that number moved up to $825 million—an increase of roughly 38 percent.
Comparing number on an annual increase, 2016’s $825 million towered over 2015’s revenue of $755 million—an increase of about 13 percent, according to APA.
Burda said his Red Apple competes with about a handful of other fireworks retailers in town.
“When we got to town, we started doing things different than the way that our competition does it,” he said.
Burda said he focuses on good customer service and the size or unit of measure on his offerings.
“In this industry, and particularly in Pahrump, people focus on just selling single units of retail, rather than these wholesale lots,” he said. That’s something Red Apple specializes in, he added.
Firework safety, rules
Burda said he also focuses on safety at Red Apple.
“Safety is always No. 1,” Burda said. “We explain how to use the products and say they should always read the instructions in the package.”
Red Apple also offers scanning stations and an app that can be downloaded, so a customer can learn about the product they are purchasing before they decide that it’s a good fit for them.
“… You can actually see the product performance and decide what you’re looking for,” Burda said. “I think we really do that well.”
Fireworks users must follow Nye County regulation 8.04 when shooting off fireworks.
Users can discharge consumer fireworks on private property that are considered “safe and sane,” according to Nye County code. The county defines this as fireworks that are non-aerial and non-exploding, as designated under certain American Pyrotechnics Association’s standards.
Under that guidance, fireworks can be detonated by users over 18 on private property that they own, or have written permission from the property owner, that are ground and hand-held sparkling devices, audible ground devices and multiple tube fireworks devices and pyrotechnic articles.
For more information, go to APA’s website and search APA Standard 87-1 on the site.
On top of those regulations, a fire extinguisher must be within 50 feet of a detonation site. Fireworks may be detonated no earlier than 8 a.m. and no later than 12:01 a.m, year-round, according to a Nye County spokesman.
For consumer fireworks that are categorized as aerial, those items may be launched at the Pahrump Town Shooter Safety Site at the Pahrump Fairgrounds.
That site is open between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., from June 30 to July 4. The permit cost is $5 from any fireworks company in Pahrump.
For more information, go to pahrumpnv.org and look under the community tab for more information on dates and times the site is available.
Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @pvtimes