May 20, 2018
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Pyro City proposes fireworks store in Ellsworth

By Kevin Miller, BDN Staff

ELLSWORTH, Maine — Area residents and those passing through the city may have a place to stock up on fireworks in time for their Fourth of July celebrations.

Pyro City of Maine plans to open a year-round fireworks store in a commercial building located about 2 miles from downtown on Route 1 and 3, which also is known as Bucksport Road.

Pyro City’s Steve Marson said he hopes to open the Ellsworth store on June 16, pending approval of his request for a consumer fireworks retail sales license from the city. The City Council will hold a public hearing on Pyro City’s license request at 7 p.m. Monday.

“I’ve been looking at Ellsworth all along,” Marson said Friday.

Pyro City already operates stores in Manchester and Edgecomb with a third in Winslow slated to open next week. In addition to the Ellsworth location, Marson is negotiating a lease for a store on Route 1 in Presque Isle.

Consumer fireworks were legalized in Maine beginning Jan. 1 under a new state law that also requires retailers to comply with a lengthy list of requirements, including locating stores in free-standing buildings rather than in the tents or temporary stands found in some other states.

Last month, Ellsworth officials exercised the local discretion allowed under state law by imposing a few extra restrictions and requirements for users and vendors. For instance, Ellsworth’s fireworks ordinance requires vendors to pay a $500 licensing fee and to make available to buyers a list of towns in Maine where fireworks are prohibited or restricted.

Consumers, meanwhile, will be prohibited from using fireworks on days when the Maine Forest Service ranks the wildfire risk as Class 4 or Class 5.

Marson said the Ellsworth store will employ six people and that he prefers to hire people who are unemployed. The jobs offer vacation and benefits, he said.

“I am making a commitment in people,” Marson said. “They are coming in with us on the ground floor and they are going to grow with us.”

Marson already has signed a long-term lease on the building next to C&C Machine, and he is spending $50,000 to connect to a water main in order to install a sprinkler system, as required under state law.

Gary Fortier, chairman of the City Council, said the building and location appear to meet all of the city and state requirements for a fireworks store.

Because not all of the necessary work at the site may be done before Monday’s meeting, Fortier said the council likely will table the issue until all of the license requirements are met. But he added that he expects the council can issue the license in time for Marson’s goal of opening by June 16 as long as Pyro City of Maine meets all of the licensing terms.

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