By Kathi Bliss
Although holiday fireworks sales are just starting to pick up, area vendors are hopeful that the ban on certain fireworks will not have a negative impact on their sales.
“Last year, they killed us with the ban, because of the way it was written,” said Raymond Naden, the proprietor of a fireworks stand on North Highway 183. “This year, at least they put in that it’s rockets with sticks or fins.”
Naden, who has operated the fireworks stand for more than eight years, said he saw two proprietors go out of business after last year’s ban.
“One of the stands behind me was run by a church group, and they couldn’t come back this year because they did so bad,” he said on Tuesday.
Because the bulk of his sales usually happen in the four days prior to New Years Eve, Naden could not gauge whether the ban has had a negative effect on his business this year, but he remains hopeful.
“Our corporate offices keep track of these kinds of bans, so they don’t even really send us the things that are banned,” Naden said. “Everything we’ve got on our shelves is legal, and the customers need to know that.”
According to Caldwell County Fire Marshal Jeff Wright, every fireworks stand in the county has been inspected and instructed to remove any illegal inventory.
“There were only a couple of stands that had anything they weren’t supposed to,” he said. “Most of the companies just don’t even send [bottle rockets or missiles with fins] out.”
Wright said that both of the stands where he found banned fireworks were instructed to remove the products from their shelves. All fireworks in compliance with the ban are still available for sale throughout Caldwell County.
“Luckily, we haven’t had that many fires,” he said. “But it’s still early.”
Because of the lack of rainfall in Caldwell County this autumn, the risk of grass fires is extremely high. Fireworks can increase that risk exponentially if proper precautions are not taken. Although there are some areas in the county where the use fireworks is allowed, fireworks are expressly prohibited within the Lockhart City Limits.
For information about the fireworks ban, contact Fire Marshal Jeff Wright at (512) 398-1836.