For the past six years, a couple of local faces have been associated with things that go boom.
Kent Patrick and Jeremy Sloan, both of Diamond, are cousins in the fireworks business, and have enjoyed setting up shop at two tent locations in Carthage for six years. On June 20, local drivers might have noticed those tents, one in the Price Cutter parking lot, and the other at the former T's Corner, have once again filled with explosives.
“We have a lot of return customers,” Sloan said. “Then again, we know a lot of our customers because we're from around here.”
The cousins express pleasure in their work with customer appreciation days, drawings and customized markings on the fireworks to show which ones are their favorites.
“See these star stickers?” Patrick said, pointing to a firework label on the table. “These stickers mean we've seen them, like them, and we post on here which ones are the 'tent favorite.'”
The cousins agreed the best part of this business is the satisfied customer.
“Seeing the look on their faces as they're going out with their fireworks, or especially when they come back for another of something that was awesome – that's the best part,” Sloan said.
The tent on the south side of Carthage features more than 350 different varieties of fireworks, and the north location has more than 275 varieties. Though new fireworks come in every year, Patrick said the best sellers are the novelty items like the fountains and sparklers.
“People who are willing to ask questions end up being the happiest customer,” Patrick said. “We're always willing to coach the customer, seeing what they want, like a show, loudness – People are usually impressed with how much we know what each firework does. When you're willing to take that initiative to ask, yeah, you'll get more bang for your buck.”
The cousins work with a family-owned and operated business called Hale Fireworks based out of Buffalo, Mo., which is north of Springfield. The cousins said Carthage has proven to be a good location for them, and fireworks always help make a holiday bright.
“It's a good time to celebrate independence and freedom,” Sloan said. “That's what it's all about.”