Second fireworks store to open in Holden

Posted Feb. 13, 2014, at 6:55 p.m.

HOLDEN, Maine — An Ohio-based fireworks business is one step closer to opening its second Maine store in early May, a company official said Thursday.

Phantom Fireworks, which currently operates a fireworks store at 2 Cabela Blvd. in Scarborough, will open a Holden store on Route 1A, Vice President William Weimer said Thursday. It will be located in the building at 999 Main Road, which formerly housed The Squire convenience store and take-out restaurant, he said.

Town planner Michael Falvey said Thursday that Phantom Fireworks was granted approval for a building-use change during a planning board meeting on Wednesday night. Among the few remaining hurdles for the company is a final inspection by the state fire marshal’s office, he said.

Weimer said Phantom Fireworks is “really excited” and looking forward to setting up shop in Holden. He added that the company was welcomed by local officials.

Once the store in Holden opens, there will be three retail fireworks sales locations within a 4.2-mile stretch of Route 1A. The other two stores include Big Bang Boom Fireworks Co., located at 820 Main Road in Holden, and Maine Fireworks, located 972 Wilson St. in Brewer. Both opened in late 2012, according to Bangor Daily News archives.

The law legalizing fireworks in Maine went into effect Jan. 1, 2012, and since then, sales have exceeded expectations, according to merchants and state officials. During 2012, 16 stores were successfully licensed, the state fire marshal’s office said in its March 2013 report to the Maine Legislature on the first year of the sale and use of consumer fireworks in the state. There now are approximately 20 fireworks stores in Maine.

On Thursday, Weimer said he believes the Holden location will do well, given the summer traffic heading to Acadia National Park and other tourist destinations along Route 1A. Weimer said he is familiar with that part of the state — it was the destination of the first vacation he and his wife of 39 years took as a married couple.

He said it was not unusual for fireworks stores to locate close to one another, comparing the model to the proximity of McDonald’s and Burger King restaurant sites.

“We all went to the same business schools,” Weimer said of corporate officials from those and other chains with a chuckle.

The 3,000-square-foot Holden location initially will employ two or three people to comprise the management team. The staff is expected to grow to as many as 30 workers during the summer, when fireworks sales are at their peak, Weimer said.

Founded more than 30 years ago, Phantom Fireworks is still growing, with more than 1,200 permanent and temporary seasonal sales locations in the 46 states that allow consumer fireworks sales, Weimer said.

During the 2013 Fourth of July season, the company operated 64 retail showrooms around the country. This year, the total is expected to increase to 68 or 69 showrooms, he said.

The company also supplies Fourth of July products to several national retail chains and has a catalog sales division, he said.

Weimer also noted that the company places a great deal of emphasis on preventing injuries.

“We’re nutso about safety,” he said, adding that the company has several fireworks safety videos on its website and on CDs. That safety information also is stapled to receipts and printed on the company’s bags.

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