Local News

Monday, Jul 02 2012 08:30 PM

For some, fireworks sales off to slow start

  1. 1 of 5

    By Shelby Mack / The Californian

    Jack Heppe sits in the fireworks stand on Rosedale Highway where he is volunteering to raise money for the Kern Kiwanis Club.

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  2. 2 of 5

    By Shelby Mack / The Californian

    Autumn Lopez, Camryn Albert and Artemis Mansur take a break from trying to attract customers to hang out in the shade by the fireworks stand on Highway 58 where their mothers are volunteering to help raise money for their cheerleading team at Rosedale Middle School.

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  3. 3 of 5

    By Shelby Mack / The Californian

    Sydney, Jacob and Eva Dominguez shop for fireworks at the stand run by the East Bakersfield Lions Club in front of Vons on Stockdale Highway.

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  4. 4 of 5

    By Shelby Mack / The Californian

    Randy Cullen tries to convince his father, Jeff, to buy more fireworks at the fireworks stand run by the East Bakersfield Lions Club on Stockdale Highway on Monday evening.

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  5. 5 of 5

    By Shelby Mack / The Californian

    Malaya Jackson, Camryn Albert, Aubree Owen and Artemis Mansur from the Rosedale Middle School cheerleading team practice stunts at the corner of Highway 58 and Verdugo Lane to attract customers to the fireworks stand where they are fundraising for their team.

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BY ANNA BURLESON Californian staff writer aburleson@bakersfield.com

Five peppy cheerleaders from Rosedale Middle School kicked, danced and twirled in the hot sun in front of their fireworks stand Monday.

Kim Lopez, the mother of one of the cheerleaders, said they had sold to a steady flow of people Sunday, but sales had slowed Monday afternoon.

Related Info

For more on fireworks see:

AskTBC on Page 4 and Sunday Eye Street fireworks buyers guide online at http://bit.ly/Of0T2m, or for purchase at The Californian front desk.

"I'm thinking because it's Monday everyone's back at work, so we're hoping tonight picks up," Lopez said.

The general concensus seems to be that business is considerably slower this year than it has been in the past, but a slow day did nothing to dampen the spirits of the young cheerleaders, all of whom were excited to come back later in the evening and do more cheers to draw in customers.

"It's funner at night," cheerleader Autumn Lopez said.

On average, large fireworks can cost anywhere from $20 to $60 alone, while smaller traditional items like sparklers are under $5. All the money the cheerleaders raise will go toward the cost of uniforms and other supplies for the team.

Lopez said some of their best sellers had been the controversial Piccolo Petes, which they could sell because their booth is set up in the county, not the city of Bakersfield.

Down the road a few miles, Rob Stretz works the Spartans Youth Football and Southwest Youth Football fireworks stand, which is within city limits. This means he can't sell Piccolo Petes or ground flower fireworks, but Stretz said he wishes he could because people ask for them.

Even though Sunday was a good day for sales, Stretz said the ultimate test would be whether people stopped to buy on their way home from work Monday.

"It all depends on what happens after 5 o'clock today," he said.

But some stands weren't having much luck drawing customers in at all, no matter what time it was.

Fred Kittredge and Jack Heppe work the Kiwanis Club of Kern fireworks stand in the parking lot of CVS pharmacy on Rosedale Highway, and as of Monday afternoon, had only helped one customer that day.

"There's a lot of traffic, but nobody stops," Heppe said.

Since the fireworks stand is their main fundraiser for the children's charities the Kiwanis Club supports, Heppe said he hoped business would pick up as the holiday drew closer and blamed slow business on their change of location.

"We've got exposure, but it's almost impossible to get in here," Heppe said.

Kittredge said the stand has helped them raise anywhere from $4,000 to $8,000 depending on the year.

"This year doesn't look good," he said.

Kern County mandates only nonprofit or charitable organizations can run fireworks stands, while Bakersfield city ordinances say some retail outlets can sell as well.

Shantelle Taylor sells fireworks for the youth group at Crossroads Christian Fellowship and said their sales haven't been nearly as good as in years past because the Fourth falls smack dab in the middle of the week -- Wednesday.

"We're not even in the booth," Taylor said as she and a friend sat in the shade of a nearby tree to stay cool.

But she is optimistic because they have sold some smaller, $20 fireworks packages. All the money raised will go toward activities for the youth group.

"Pretty much every family in Bakersfield buys fireworks to some extent, so they have to buy them sometime," she said.

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