ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Sales are popping for area fireworks retailers

With communities cancelling their fireworks celebrations, people are ready to build their own displays.

070320.N.RPB.FIREWORKS.STAND.09553.jpg
Dana Gasparotto, of Rochester, and her daughter Gracie Wallace, 11, browse the fireworks options at a Vapor of Smoke Fireworks tent with the help of employee Dylan Livingston Friday, July 3, 2020, in Rochester. Rochester's annual Fourth of July fireworks show is canceled this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and owner Tim Bachtle said he thought sales at their tents this year were up 50 percent. (Joe Ahlquist / jahlquist@postbulletin.com)

Count Dana Gasparotto among those spending a little more on things that go "boom" this Fourth of July.

"We'd have loved to go downtown," Gasparotto said while buying fireworks at the Vapor of Smoke Fireworks stand in the Crossroads parking lot near Hy-Vee on Friday. "And we would have gone to a small town but so many people are going to flock to those, it seems like they'll be crowded."

070320.N.RPB.FIREWORKS.STAND.09578.jpg
Dana Gasparotto, of Rochester, and her daughter Gracie Wallace, 11, browse the fireworks options at a Vapor of Smoke Fireworks tent with the help of employee Dylan Livingston Friday, July 3, 2020, in Rochester. Rochester's annual Fourth of July fireworks show is canceled this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and owner Tim Bachtle said he thought sales at their tents this year were up 50 percent. (Joe Ahlquist / jahlquist@postbulletin.com)

Picking out fireworks with her daughter, Gracie Wallace, Gasparotto said most years she'll buy sparklers for an Independence Day celebration, but with so many cities – including Rochester – canceling their fireworks displays due to social distancing guidelines and concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, this year they decided to create their own backyard display. Gasparotto said her fireworks will be one of the highlights of a family cookout and celebration.

ADVERTISEMENT

That seems to be a theme in 2020, said Tim Bachtle, one of the owners and operators of Vapor of Smoke Fireworks out of Owatonna.

"Sales for us has been up 50 percent this year," Bachtle said. "We have a lot of enthusiastic customers."

070320.N.RPB.FIREWORKS.STAND.09751.jpg
Tim Bachtle, who owns Vapor of Smoke Fireworks with his wife Kim, restocks the tent Friday, July 3, 2020, in Rochester. Rochester's annual Fourth of July fireworks show is canceled this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and owner Tim Bachtle said he thought sales at their tents this year were up 50 percent. (Joe Ahlquist / jahlquist@postbulletin.com)

Much of that enthusiasm has focused on larger fountain displays that can create the kind of fireworks experience that cities have passed on providing this summer, he said. That's led to a lot of education, helping customers understand the difference between types of fountains and the size of the displays.

One of the top sellers this summer has been the 500-gram fountains, the largest allowed in Minnesota for regular consumer use.

ADVERTISEMENT

"People are buying much bigger stuff," Bachtle said.

Shane Becnel, who is visiting from New Orleans, said he's always bought fireworks for the Fourth of July, but this year he's looking at some of the different options.

"We're getting the bigger ones because people want to have that experience," Becnel said.

Related Topics: SMALL BUSINESSCORONAVIRUS
Brian Todd is the news editor at the Post Bulletin. When not at work, he spends time with his family, roots for the Houston Astros and watches his miniature dachshund sleep, which is why that dog is more bratwurst than hotdog. Readers can reach Brian at 507-285-7715 or btodd@postbulletin.com.
What To Read Next
Artificial intelligence can now act as an artist or a writer. Does that mean AI is ready to play doctor? Many institutions, including Mayo Clinic, believe that AI is ready to become a useful tool.
Downtown businesses may be poised for a busy year of openings with a growing restaurant, retail and residential scene.
Three minority-owned businesses have one focus: Make downtown even better.
One more businesses just means more arts fun for Maggie Panetta and Nathaniel Nelson.