Photo by Heather Middleton
By Curt Yeomans
Business was slow at Kim Hudson's Phantom Fireworks stand in Forest Park, but she said she was not discouraged about it.
On Monday afternoon, there would be periods of five, or more, minutes where no customers came to her stand, and those who did, came in as one family at a time.
But, Hudson, who opened her stand on Saturday, said it is normal to experience a few slow days at first. The business, she said, does not start to pick up until the calendar changes over to July. This is Hudson's third year of running her fireworks stand next to the McDonald's that is located at 5192 Jonesboro Road (Ga. Hwy. 54), in Forest Park.
Sunday is the Fourth of July, a day marked with fireworks displays in a variety of places, ranging from professional shows in parks, to more scaled-back events in residential neighborhoods.
"It will be really busy at the end of this week, and definitely busy on Saturday, and Sunday," Hudson said. "Business really starts to pick up at the end of the week before the Fourth of July, because it's closer to the Fourth, and that is when payday comes around."
Fireworks stands, like the one Hudson operates, pop up annually, usually in parking lots facing busy streets, around the Fourth of July. They do not necessarily yield the fireworks that shoot high into the skies, like bottle rockets, or the cannon-like "Roman candles." They do, however, give people a place to buy some fireworks to put on modest, little shows in their driveways, or front yards.
In the case of Hudson's stand, patrons mainly will find sparklers, and "fountain" fireworks, which are canister-shaped containers that shoot sparks into the air.
Customers also will find variety packs, filled with everything from little "poppers" (pull a string out of a tiny, bottle-shaped object, and confetti shoots out), to large "fountains."
Hudson said the variety packs are usually her best sellers. They range in price, depending on size, going from $9.99, to $79.99, but she said the cornucopia of items in the packs is what attracts people to them. "People like them because you get a little bit of everything in them," she said.
Hudson did offer a warning for people wanting to shoot off a big "fountain" fireworks displays. Some of the larger ones that she sells, range in height from being the size of a medium-sized kitchen pot, to a larger stock pot.
"Large fountains shoot off a lot of sparks," she said. "You should use them in areas where there are not many trees around ... and definitely away from your house."
After perusing the many different fireworks for sale at Hudson's stand, Rex resident, Angela Clayton, opted to buy sparklers, and small "fountains" for her children.
She said she did not want to get anything too big, because she was afraid her children, or their home, might get hurt.
"I was looking for just anything that wouldn't set the house on fire," Clayton said. "I didn't want my children to hurt themselves, either. I wouldn't even look at those bigger fireworks, because they look scary to me."