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Firework stands expecting plenty of customers as holiday nears

LANETT — Located just off Exit 77 on I-85, Boom City U.S.A. had its best-ever Fourth of July season last year.

“The business we were having just blew us away,” said Store Manager Marsha Pickens. “We emptied our warehouse, and it took us months to build back our inventory.”

Boom City is now fully stocked with firecrackers, missiles, rockets and almost anything else that ignites, launches and explodes in brilliant colors.

The year 2020 was a tough year with the Covid pandemic. Many businesses struggled with slow traffic from the public. Things were great, though, for businesses like Boom City heading into July 4th. Pickens said things are looking up for another very busy season.

“We are fully stocked with the name brands everyone wants, names like Loyal To No One, Tank Girl, Gorilla Warfare, and One Bad Mother-in-Law,” Pickens said.

On the weekend of the Fourth, Boom City will have 30 people working the huge inventory in the Phillips Road warehouse. There will be 12 to 14 cashiers, stockers, and people who help bag purchases, assist arriving cars to parking spots and direct them safely to the road when they leave.

“We are fortunate to have a great group of young people helping us every busy season,” Pickens said.

Boom City is famous for its mascot, Wilton.

“We had to retire our big inflatable gorilla,” Pickens said. “We used to have him on top of the building during busy periods. When the wind would blow him across the road, we’d have to go and retrieve him. Then we’d have to patch him back up and get him back up on the building. We now have his image painted on the side of the building.”

Pickens said many customers come this time of year from the two-state area.

“We have a lot of people coming here from Newnan and LaGrange on the Georgia side and Opelika-Auburn and Phenix City on the Alabama side,” she said. “There’s people who stop by while traveling from Atlanta or Montgomery. Of course, we have some of our best customers from Lanett, Valley and West Point.”

A popular item this time of year is the five-inch canister shot with four launchers. The Growler and the Platinum are popular brands, as is the MOAB. That stands for Mother of All Bombs and can shoot off four different mortars at the same time.

Boom City is big on safety. The company has a safety officer named Fireman Mike who offers safety tips on the Boom City website. He urges anyone using fireworks to carefully read his instructions before starting.