BELOIT — Dad Nick Kelam of Rockford brought his 8-year-old son, Vaughn Kelam, to Cornellier Fireworks, 105 Dearborn Ave., Beloit for his first trip to pick out fireworks on Sunday. With so many area municipal fireworks shows being canceled this year, Nick Kelam said those in his neighborhood are already planning a get-together.
“Everything is cancelled so we are trying to have our own fun,” Nick Kelam said. “It won’t be too crazy—a few bottle rockets and something to do for the neighborhood. It will be just enough to entertain the kids and for adults to reminisce.”
“They (fireworks) are loud and they explode,” Vaughn Kelam said.
Nick Kelam said he likes to bring his business to Cornellier’s to keep it local.
Chanel Dietzman, manager for Beloit Fireworks and Stateline Fireworks, said she expects a busier-than-usual year based on the higher amount of traffic into the store this month. When the Cornellier stores opened Memorial Day weekend, more customers were buying early for July 4.
Cornellier’s has the following stores: Cornellier Fireworks, 105 Dearborn Beloit; Cornellier Superstore, 2909 Ford St., Beloit; Stateline Fireworks, 1655 Gardner St., South Beloit; as well as stores in Poynette, Plainfield and Windsor, Wisconsin. Because people have to go outside of the state they live in to buy fireworks, most of Cornellier’s customers are from Illinois.
“It’s been pretty busy already. Everybody’s wanting to do their own thing because of the cancellations,” Dietzman said.
With increased interest, Dietzman recommends customers stop by the store soon to avoid the rush
To keep staff and customers safe, and comply with COVID-19 social distancing rules, Dietzman said there are tape marks for customers to stand on which are 6 feet apart. Although all the tapes haven’t been filled by customers yet, it’s been close at times
“They (customers) are excited to be out. A lot of them will say ‘we just needed to go for a drive and we needed to buy fireworks,’” she said.
Once it gets busier, there will be little chains put up to help keep customers adequately distanced. As in other years, orders slips are written up and put in a slot for backroom staffers to fill and dispense to customers.
The average customer this year is spending about $50 to $150 per order. Dietzman said the hottest sellers are canister style shells which shoot up into the air with a loud report and break out with a large display ranging from the Chrysanthemum and brocade to the crackling firework.
“It’s variety, and it’s a surprise,” Dietzman said.