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Fireworks business booming in Michigan

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Business is looking up for people selling fireworks in Michigan.

Since state lawmakers expanded the kinds of fireworks that can be sold in Michigan, fireworks are a growing business in the state.

Bill Weimer is a vice president with Phantom, one of the nation’s largest fireworks retailers. He says Michigan is a ‘developing’ market since the state loosened the rules on ‘consumer” fireworks starting in 2012.

“I think Michiganders have come to love their fireworks,” says Weimer, “It has been a good fireworks state. And now with the laws having been relaxed, Michigan is on its way to becoming a great fireworks state.”

The number of brick & mortar stores and tents selling fireworks has risen from 704 in 2012 to 890 this year. As sales have risen, fireworks are also generating several million dollars in state tax and fee revenues.  There’s a 6% sales tax on fireworks. There is also a 6% fire safety fee on fireworks sales that goes to firefighter training. Vendors also pay $600 (Tent) to $1000 (Bricks & Mortar) for a sales permit. 

But as fireworks sales increase, there are concerns that injuries are also rising.

“We don’t monitor the health aspects of the fireworks program,” says Rich Miller, Michigan’s State Fire Marshal.  Miller recommends Michiganders enjoy professional fireworks shows this weekend rather than risk injury by setting fire to their own. 

If they must, Miller urges people to take basic safety precautions, including always have adult supervision and only light fireworks outside. 

Not everyone loves fireworks, but the 4th of July weekend is traditionally the biggest weekend for amateur firework shows.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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