Stuck in a relentless heat wave, customers apparently decided not to go all out on fireworks this Fourth of July weekend in Clark County.
The cash flow has increased year after year for the past decade at the TNT Fireworks Warehouse in Hazel Dell, General Manager Beau Leach said. But this time, it was a different story for the business, as sales fell about 5 percent from last summer.
“We gear up every year to grow,” Leach said. “We really thought this would be our best year ever, and it just didn’t turn out like that.”
The 13,000-square-foot tent is one of Clark County’s largest fireworks vendors. In fact, it may even be the largest fireworks tent in the world. The jury’s still out on that one, but the company should have an answer next month after an effort to get the tent listed in the Guinness World Records.
Located along Interstate 5 at the north end of 13th Avenue, the place is hard to miss while driving by on the freeway. Even so, TNT was heading for its worst sales figures ever through July 2, Leach said. The pace picked up over the next two days, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the early doldrums.
Despite the drop-off, foot traffic ended up growing about 5 percent since last year at the massive tent. That kind of growth in the number of customers is normal for the business, Leach said.
Leach attributes the trend to the unusually hot weather Southwest Washington has experienced lately. With dangerously dry conditions and temperatures in the 90s, more of Leach’s customers steered away from buying the biggest fireworks available this time.
“We sold a lot more ‘safe and sane’ than we’re used to,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we sold twice as much as normal.”
All in all, that’s not a bad thing, Leach said. The business is still doing fine, and customers seemed more concerned about fire safety this time, he said.
“We heard a lot of customers talking about how they had sprinkled their yards (with water),” Leach said. “You just get this sense that people were more cognizant of safety this year.”