Selling fireworks in East TN: A 24/7 job

You may have seen tents popping up around East Tennessee, full of fireworks. The Fourth of July means big business for those who sell them. 7-2-14

(WBIR-Seymour) Tents have been popping up around East Tennessee full of fireworks.

The Fourth of July means big business for those who sell them but it also takes dedication.

There are several tents set up alongside Chapman Highway in Seymour.

Chris Caruthers with Fireworks Supermarket has been selling them at 10329 Chapman Highway for 16 years. State law requires 24/7 supervision of explosive items, meaning Caruthers has to spend the night in the tent.

"I normally like to camp but I'm not a huge fan of doing this. It's one of the big pains of the business," he said. "I got bit by a spider last night on my shoulder. That kind of hurt."

To make it easier, Caruthers keeps inside the tent an air mattress, several fans, and his dog. Besides making sure no one steals the fireworks, it takes a couple days to set up.

Fireworks Supermarket opened its tent on June 21; they will pack up by July 6.

"It's difficult to do. It's not for everybody," said Douglas Stitt with Parker Fireworks.

Parker Fireworks is located just down the highway from Fireworks Supermarket.

Stitt also uses an air mattress. He set up his tent about five days ago and will start packing up on July 5.

"While you're doing it, you're thinking, 'Why do I do this? I'll never do this again.' But at the end you've met all these people and the community's really nice. When you get paid that makes it worthwhile," he said.

According to Caruthers and Stitt, July 3 and July 4 are their busiest days. Many tents will also be open on July 5.

For the next two days, Fireworks Supermarket will be open 8 a.m. to midnight.

Parker Fireworks will be open as late as needed. It is offering a $10 certificate to Elliott's Boots & Shoes for anyone who buys fireworks at the tent.


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