City fireworks delayed; display sales a ‘booming’
The sky is lit up once the sun is down on the Fourth of July holiday, although Tropical Storm Arthur has already forced a change in plans. The city’s scheduled Thursday fireworks display has been pushed to Saturday, July 5 at 9 p.m. at Oakland Beach.
The holiday is infamously combined with fireworks, and vendors gear up to assist the many celebrators.
D&R Fireworks, near the intersection of Post and Airport Roads, is new to the city this year, but the guys behind the operation are no rookies. Dennis Barnes, Ron Ruzzo and Ryan Choiniere, all longtime friends and plumbers, are familiar with the business. Barnes and Ruzzo previously worked at a chain firework vendor in North Kingstown.
“We were finally able to break away,” and happily said Barnes.
According to the Warwick Police Department, there are 10 permits this year to sell fireworks around the city. Vendors apply yearly for certain time slots. They must fill out an itinerant vendor application, submit a retail sales tax permit and receive permission by the property owner. They then have to get approved by the Fire Department, Building Department and the Board of Public Safety.
D&R has been at their location since June 17 and will stay until July 7. Barnes said they are at the third busiest intersection in Warwick but that there are three other competitors nearby. He said there might be other preferred spots in the city, like on Post Road, but was confident that theirs would bring good business.
Victory Fireworks Inc. is their wholesale distributor based out of Wisconsin. Ruzzo and Barnes agreed that it is hard to know how much to order and of which kind. The most important thing is to not run out before the Fourth, they said.
“Every day the more popular item changes,” said Barnes.
He said sparklers are always favored and that their assortment packs for $159.99 sell often, too.
The Rhode Island Department of Public Safety and State Fire Marshal say that ground and hand-held sparkling devices are legal if they don’t fly into the air and explode. It says, “Any firecrackers, rockets, mortars or any other devices that launch a projectile and/or ‘bang’/detonate/report are not legal,” under the RIGL 11-13-1. That, however, hasn’t stopped people from buying them out of state and setting them off here.
Whether in the air or not, fireworks can put a dent into a wallet. And starting a fireworks sales business isn’t easy, too.
“It can be pricey,” said Ruzzo about the business. He said once he had his initial investor, it became easier.
Barnes said they stay true to their sign facing the road: “Where you get more for your buck!” Their party packs range from $15 to $160 and their fountains from $5 to $55.
“We knew what other companies charged, and we didn’t like it,” said Barnes. “We don’t push you to buy two of something if you don’t want,” like other places do, said Barnes.
Depending on how things go for D&R, they are considering selling on other holidays like Labor Day and Memorial Day.
“We love it too much,” said Barnes.
For further delays, cancellations or information about the Warwick Independence Day fireworks display, call Warwick Tourism at 738-2000.