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Business booming for fireworks sales in Mich.

Updated: Friday, July 4 2014, 08:50 PM EDT
Business booming for fireworks sales in Mich. story image
PORTAGE, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Business is booming Friday, thanks to customers who can't wait to light up the night.

In 2012, fireworks laws changed in Michigan, opening up sales to more powerful explosives--especially those that shoot high into the sky.

Three Independence Days later, we're asking how that has affected business.

Sales of the big explosives are beginning to settle down after two busy summers, but the bottom line is: millions of dollars are now being spent in Michigan.

Joanne Potts, from Texas Township, was at Jake's Friday, loading up and getting ready for a night of 'oohs' and 'aahs.'

"Get a firework display for the lake this evening," she said. "Family and friends, it's great we can get them now here locally."

Two years ago, her purchases would have been illegal. She says she used to drive to Indiana to get her Fourth of July fun.

"Big hassle; great that Michigan has made them legal," Potts said.

Mia Chapdelaine has helped run the fireworks tent outside the Westnedge Meijer for 15 years, and says she'll never forget when the bigger explosives were legalized.

"It was insane; the sales were out of control from day one," she said.

Three summers later, there is still lots of confusion from shoppers.

"We still have a lot of people who didn't realize the laws had changed until this year," Chapdelaine said. "For the most part, it is double checking, you do know how to use these."

Things have quieted down some this year, but sales for the big shooters still sparkle.

Since the law change, Jake's Fireworks, a nationwide chain, has opened up 32 locations in Michigan. The booming sales brought the Portage location from a tent to an indoor location.

"Hoping people will, you know, come and buy fireworks every year in a location that's air conditioned, out of the heat," said manager Ivan Schwartz.

The biggest change for people is spending their money in Michigan. It's estimated that the change has already brought in more than $7 million.

"Tax money for the area, it's busy, and everyone loves it now that we can do it legally," Potts said.

The fireworks tent will be closing down Friday night.

Jake's is set to stay open until the fall.

While fireworks may be legal, local ordinances limit the days and hours you can shoot them off.

As a general rule of thumb, most cities only allow fireworks on national holidays, as well as the day before and the day after.

In Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, fireworks are also prohibited between midnight and 8:00 a.m.

You do get one extra hour in Portage though, where the ban doesn't start until 1:00 a.m.
Business booming for fireworks sales in Mich.
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