The only vestige of Christmas are a few evergreen branches that have been swept into a pile in the parking lot.
Mike Roberts has cleared the Christmas trees and wreaths from his tent on Bloomingdale Avenue next to Winthrop Town Centre in Riverview and replaced them with thousands of fireworks to help residents ring in the New Year with a bang.
For years, Roberts has beckoned in the season at his Winthrop tent, selling pumpkins and gourds in October, Christmas trees in December, roses on Valentine's Day and fireworks for New Year's Eve and the Fourth of July.
The day after Christmas, Robert and his team were busy clearing out the left-over Christmas trees and stocking the tent with a wide assortment of firecrackers, sparklers, smoke bombs, snaps and rockets.
For around $100, residents can pick up value packs of fireworks that will enable them to put on a display that will rival the professionals, said Paul Brown, a member of Roberts' sales team.
"The Excalibur is by far our best seller," said Brown. "I've fired it myself and it's an awesome display. It includes 24 canister shells bundled with high-density polyethylene (HDPE) tubes to produce such aerial effects as the Jumbo Red Dahlia, Red and Silver Peony, Silver Crackling Palm and Jumbo Silver Chrysanthemum.
The next best-seller, according to Brown, is the Goliath, which features 35 shells and 54 assorted effects.
"But, if you want a little bit of everything, The King is the way to go," said Brown.
Fireworks enthusiasts also can purchase rockets, Roman candles, firecrackers, snakes, whistlers, festival balls and poppers by the individual packs.
Roberts said selling fireworks for New Year's Eve and the Fourth of July has proven nearly as lucrative as Christmas tree sales, although Roberts has only a short period of time after Christmas to begin selling his fireworks.
"I view videos of the fireworks and personally choose all the ones I sell," Roberts said. "Some people like fireworks with lots of color. Others enjoy the big bang they make."
Roberts said today's fireworks are more colorful and sophisticated than ever.
Roberts will continue selling fireworks until midnight on New Year's Eve. His fireworks stand opens at 9 a.m. He accepts most major credit cards.
Fireworks Safety Tips
TNT Fireworks — the nation’s largest distributor of consumer fireworks and sparklers — is encouraging Americans to safely enjoy their New Year’s celebrations with the following tips:
- TAKE PRECAUTIONS. Always keep a hose and a bucket of water nearby in case of emergencies.
- LIGHT ONE AT A TIME. Never light two or more fireworks or sparklers at the same time.
- KEEP IT OUTSIDE. Only use fireworks and sparklers outdoors on flat, hard surfaces in clear areas and away from houses, buildings and dry grass.
- HAVE ADULT SUPERVISION. Never allow young children to light or handle fireworks or sparklers. Be aware of the minimum permitted age in your state. Adults should always be present when lighting or handling fireworks or sparklers.
- STAY ALERT. Never mix alcohol or other substances with fireworks or sparklers.
- STAY CLEAR. Never hold a lit firework in your hand. Keep as far from them as possible when lighting.
- LET SLEEPING FIREWORKS LIE. Never try to relight fireworks or sparklers that do not ignite. Wait 15 to 20 minutes before approaching them, then soak them with water and throw them away.
- PROTECT YOUR PETS. Animals are often frightened by the sounds of fireworks. Protect your “best friends” by keeping them indoors, secure and away from the loud, sudden noises.
Also, always check the label and instructions on fireworks and sparklers to ensure they come from a reliable, legal and licensed source.