COVINGTON, Ga. — If planning to launch fireworks while hosting a soiree come Fourth of July, a local fireworks store owner has a message: “Come on,” and “come early.”
In recent weeks, several national media outlets have confirmed fireworks have become the latest victim of a supply shortage. One of the nation’s largest retailers, Phantom Fireworks, reportedly stated people would need to go early in order to have a good selection to choose from.
Tammy Nolan, part-owner of Station 10 Fireworks in Newton County, said the shortage is real and agreed that any residents wanting to shoot their own shows needed to act fast.
“We’re already out of a few things,” Nolan told The Covington News on Friday, “but we’ve still got a real good selection and probably will up until the last minute. So, people need to come on and get their fireworks early if they want a good selection.”
What’s to blame for the current shortage? None other than COVID.
Last year, Nolan said, sales boomed as result of the pandemic causing local shows to be canceled.
“I guess everyone got tired of being cooped up at home from COVID,” she said.
Nolan said her family even had fireworks delivered on July 4, and they still sold out.
“It was a mad house in here,” she said. “In the meantime, everyone else was selling out, too. We were one of the last places in the whole region that had stuff. I mean, we had people coming from Lake Oconee and all over.”
Nolan said the store had ordered and received all it could for this year and believes their supply could sell out as quickly as it came in, even as more local shows return.
“We had several neighborhoods pool money together and hold their own shows last year,” she said. “Hopefully they enjoyed it so much they’ll want to do that again.
“Either way, we’re anticipating another good year.”
Nolan said the most popular product was the canister shells, which is the largest commercial firework that can be purchased legally.
FROM SHOW BUSINESS TO SALES
The Nolans got into fireworks sales as result of shooting commercial fireworks for Atlanta Pyrotechnics for “years and years.” They traveled all across Central America — including Guatemala, San Salvador, Honduras and others.
Nolan’s husband, Jody, also worked as a Newton County firefighter for many years before transferring to the county Emergency Management Agency. As part of the fire service, he and others helped put on the annual show in Covington for several years.
As time went on, the Nolans decided the traveling wasn’t for them, so they got out of the show business. In 2014 the family opened a store at Newton County’s decommissioned Station No. 10.
“There was no storefront,” Nolan said of the store’s early beginnings. “We had tables and big fans in here to keep people from having a heat stroke.”
As time went on, the Nolans worked to upgrade the building, where once they could only hold a few hundred pounds of fireworks at a time, now they can have 1,000 pounds of fireworks.
Station 10 Fireworks is one of the few locally owned and operated fireworks stores in the area. Unlike the pop-up vendors that usually set up for a few weeks each year at various locations, the Nolans sell fireworks year-round; however the store isn’t open all year.
Their main location is at 11240 Georgia Hwy. 36 in Covington. They also have two other stores — at 1025 Georgia Hwy. 142 in Covington, and 3163 Georgia Hwy. 81 N in Oxford.