PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There are certain core truths about Pittsburgh and Pittsburghers. In all things, the Steelers come first, if you see a chair – don’t park there, and if you want to draw a crowd – shoot off fireworks.
No one knows Pittsburgh’s love of fireworks more than the folks at Phantom Fireworks in Boardman, Ohio.
“We see a strong potential in Pittsburgh,” says Phantom VP Bill Weimer. “We have a certain customer base that comes from Pittsburgh, but now that it’s legal [in Pennsylvania], there are gonna be a whole lot of people who will consider using the fireworks that never considered it before.”
Weimer says as soon as the law changed allowing the sale and use of consumer-grade fireworks in the Commonwealth, Phantom started looking for locations in Pittsburgh.
“We think Pittsburgh is a two or three showroom market. We have two or three we’ve identified that we’re working with the landlords to try to get letters of intent on. As soon as that happens, then we’ll go through the permitting process,” he said.
Pennsylvania law requires the showrooms be in standalone buildings, and Weimer says whatever locations they choose will have to outfitted with the proper safety systems.
So where are they looking?
Weimer says, “North Hills is one area I know we’re looking at. We’re looking on the west side of the city, and it depends on what is going to fall into place and how quickly.”
Weimer compares the look of a Phantom Showroom to the size and look of a drug store, only with the shelves packed with everything from sparklers to mortars, to the big bang consumer fireworks. He says there is too much involved to build showrooms to be open only seasonally, so the stores will be year round.
“We will have about four employees who work year round. Then, in the spring, and during the busy season, that will swell to about 80 employees,” he said.
Phantom hopes to have the first showroom open before the 4th of July this year with the other two opening before the 4th next year.
“We’re going to have a lot of customers, I think, that just didn’t exist before,” Weimer said.