Fireworks vendors report an explosive sales period

By Eric Butler: CNJ Correspondent

Fireworks vendors began packing up and closing shop on Monday, many declaring the season a financial success.

“We just got it this year, so this was our first time,” said Maria Hernandez, who operated a stand between Clovis and Texico over the past few weeks, “but business was pretty good.”

Hernandez said her stand sold flash crackers and X missiles — its most popular items — until the sun went down on July 4. She continued to sell on Monday morning, even as the unsold fireworks were being packed away.

Becky Dunagan, manager of the Mr. W Fireworks stand between Clovis and Cannon Air Force Base, said she also made sales on Monday while packing up.

Dunagan said business at her stand was also good.

“From what I hear, it did better than it did last year,” said Dunagan, who took over this year from another manager at the Mr. W location. “Everybody was more excited to buy this year, I guess.”

Dunagan said her customers were mostly buying the big packs — the bottle rockets, Roman candles, artillery shells.

“There were also a lot of people looking for the little tiny bottle rockets that we couldn’t sell,” said Dunagan, referring to county restrictions on rockets less than a half-inch in diameter.

Some operators said they felt recent rainfall in the area led to more fireworks sales in 2004.

“Actually, some of the people thought that the bans we had were kind of nonsense because of the rains we did have,” Dunagan said.

Clovis firefighters said they responded to nine fire calls on the Fourth of July.

“We definitely had incidents, they ran all day,” Batallion Chief Kevin Crouch said. “But most were minor fireworks-related. There was a bush on fire and a grass fire, but none were major.”