Fireworks popular way to greet ’10

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 31, 2009

“More bang for the buck” is what pyrotechnic consumers are shopping for this New Year’s holiday, Florala firework merchants agreed Wednesday.

With the slumping economy, little luxuries have been all but eliminated from the budget by most.

“But people aren’t going to break tradition and not pop fireworks,” said Buddy Holley of Buddy’s Fireworks. “Fireworks are a luxury and people don’t have the money to spend on them like they have in years past. It seems like they have other things to spend money on, which is understandable.

“But they still buy them,” he said.

Sandy Hunt of Betty’s Fireworks said she immediately noticed the shift in patrons’ spending pattern.

“It used to be that customers would come in and spend $100 on several big things and lots of extras,” Hunt said. “Now they come in spend $100 or less on lots of little things. They’re still buying but it’s not as much.”

Standards such as bottle rockets and sparklers still top the must-have list, followed by pre-packaged assortments.

“The great thing about assortments is that there is something for everyone in there,” Holley said. “There’s little stuff for the kids. Something pretty for mom and for dad, the biggest bang in the pack.”

With their close proximity to Florida, the two stores often see a large influx of customers from Florida, as was the case for Tyler Guinn and Jamie Stephens of Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., and Howell Phelps of Niceville, Fla.

“I went out of my way to come through Florala just so I could get fireworks,” Phelps said. “I was on my way to Huntsville to the hunting camp and we really needed some fireworks. Florala is the best place to buy them, so here I am.”