Iowans Can Now Buy And Sell Fireworks For First Time In Decades
'It's Lit Fireworks' Near Spirit Lake Officially Open For Business
For the first time in decades, Iowans will be able to purchase fireworks in the state. Some fireworks stands were allowed to start selling them on June 1. But for those hoping to cash in on the new law, it has proved to be easier said than done. The State Fire Marshal has been overwhelmed with applications for permits.
The State Fire Marshal Jeff Quigle says they have 1,040 potential sites that have expressed interest in obtaining a license. He says they currently have six personnel working on the issuance of licenses. They have not received any additional personnel to administer the Fireworks Licensing Program. So far, the state has issued a total of 18 licenses, but Quigle expects that to increase over the weekend.
“The state has been swamped, and it’s not their fault. It’s just a lot of work, and they weren’t quite prepared, and (it) got thrown into the Fire Marshal’s lap,” said ‘It’s Lit Fireworks’ Co-Owner Dan Winterfeld.
Winterfeld is a farmer near Sioux Center and his friend, Joel Bousema, the owner of a shoe store in Sheldon. But once they heard that Iowa was legalizing the purchase and sale of commercial grade fireworks in early May, they decided to turn their attention to pyrotechnics too.
“Did you ever think in your wildest dreams, you would be selling fireworks,” we asked Winterfeld. “No,” he replied smiling. “He (Joel) has a little more flexibility in his job also, kind of like mine and it fit the bill pretty good.”
That means their wives and combined eight children have plans for the summer now too. The families plan to run nine fireworks stands in northwest Iowa throughout the month of June and July.
Winterfeld said, “If we told them (their families) nine places originally they’d say, ‘no way’ if they knew it would be this much work.”
Winterfeld says they couldn’t even apply for a permit from the State Fire Marshal’s Office until the day before sales were allowed. They finally got a permit to start selling at one of their stands on Monday. Ever since, they’ve spent hours at the site on the northeast corner of Highway 86 and 9 stocking shelves.
While South Dakota businesses may lose some business, all of ‘It’s Lit Fireworks’ were purchased from a South Dakota wholesaler: Lew’s Fireworks in Watertown.
“We will have anything you’re gonna have in South Dakota and Missouri; anything that’s legal from the small stuff to the big stuff. You can put a great show on for a good price or if you want to go crazy we have that too,” said Winterfeld.
The hard part is this business hasn’t been in Iowa since the 1930’s. They say they don’t what to expect.
“I would imagine there will be a lot of competition,” said Winterfeld.
Winterfeld expected to open their location just west of Spirit Lake at around 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
The new law allows for the retail sale of fireworks in permanent structures beginning June 1 and temporary structures, such as tents, on June 13. Sales run through July 8.