Niche turns into successful endeavor

Twice a year, the roadside tents pop up like clockwork. A few weeks before Independence Day they come up and go down as soon as the holiday passes. The story is the same with Christmas/New Year holiday. The fireworks stands open around Christmas and remain to usher in the new year. 

While these tents have become common in our culture, many give little thought to what goes into these businesses that bud only twice a year.

Faye Barley, daughter of Henry Dave Hackett, owner and founder of Dave’s Fireworks, said that while the stands are only open roughly one month out of the year, it is a business that keeps them busy year around.

Barley said Dave’s Fireworks has been open in Monticello for more than 30 years. She added that the business was built around her father’s love of fireworks.

“He loves to shoot them and loves them so much that he makes sure that we have plenty variety to choose from each year,” Barley said. “He could tell you everything each one does.”

Barley said her father got the idea to open a fireworks stand from a friend in Missouri many years ago.

“We lived in Missouri for a while, and Dad had a friend who had a big fireworks stand up there,” she explained. “My dad thought the fireworks business would do well here so when we moved back to Arkansas, he opened our first fireworks stand.”

And, 30 years later, the business is still booming.

“We have our good years, and our bad years as with any business,” Barley said. “The weather has a lot to do with it. If it’s good weather, we will have a crowd on New Year’s Eve, but if it’s really cold and rainy, it’s much slower during the winter.”

Barley said she thinks this year might be okay for New Year’s.

“You never really know,” she said. “They just hit you all at once. Last July, I don’t think I had any fireworks to pack up.”

Barley said she’s been working in the fireworks stand for her father since she was in college.

“I was going to school at UAM when I started helping Dad,” she recalled. “Me and a friend of mine would work here during the summer and Christmas break to have extra money before the start of each semester.”

Barley didn’t divulge on how many years ago that was, but she said she has been helping her dad ever since.

She said that part of the business is to know their customers. Some customers have been buying fireworks from the tent, located on Highway 425 South, for many years.

“We  have customers that came in when they were kids, and now they are coming in with their kids,” Barley said. “It’s great to get to know these people over the years.”

Today, Dave’s Fireworks has several locations in south Arkansas. What started as a love for fireworks, fun and families, has turned into a successful seasonal business.

While fireworks are a fun part of celebrating, Fire Chief Kelly Reid said he wants everyone to use them responsibility and carefully.

“There have been occasions were fireworks have caused houses to catch on fire,” Reid said. “The main thing is to remember not to use them near trees or buildings to reduce the risk.”

Police Chief Eddy Deaton said the city has an ordinance against using fireworks within the city limits so anyone wishing to enjoy fireworks should do so outside Monticello’s city boundaries.

The Advance-Monticellonian

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