Published 12:15 am Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Despite the national downturn in the economy, local fireworks merchants say they have not seen a significant decrease in sales as the Fourth of July weekend approaches.

“It’s down a little bit compared to last year, but I figure it’s really going to pick up as we get to the weekend,” said Houston Roberson, owner of Boomtown Fireworks on U.S. Hwy. 84, just east of Andalusia. “Starting (today), people will begin to get their paychecks and I think we’ll see a lot more business coming in.”

Roberson said every year brings bigger and better fireworks. This year’s popular big-ticket item is the Heavy Metal fireworks, which is a 500-gram cake with 96 shots in a variety of colors.

Customers who visit Boomtown can view video of Heavy Metal and other fireworks on the store’s computer, so they know what to expect when they buy.

Roberson also said the store sells a lot of assortments for kids, which include sparklers and pop-snaps. Boomtown also offers custom boxes that offer a variety of Roman candles, firecrackers and other explosive amusements — those boxes are available in $150 and $300 size.

Roberson said he hopes to see strong business this year, because the July 4 holiday falls on a weekend.

“It’s pretty convenient for us,” he said. “A lot of people will also be taking Friday or Monday off, and they might have some family visiting, and what better way to celebrate the holiday than with a fireworks show?”