Kaboom Fireworks helping local customers put zing in their Independence Day

Janie Slaven | CJ

Tim Walden has operated Kaboom Fireworks since 1980. He stands in the warehouse where customers can select the kinds of fireworks they want for 4th of July shows.

Have you ever wondered how local churches, fire departments, and businesses that host 4th of July fireworks shows make that happen?

Tim Walden of Kaboom Fireworks, located off Ky. 1247 on Cedar Grove Road, has been in business since 1980, when he was fresh out of the Marine Corps and looking for a way to pay his bills.

A chance meeting with the owner of Central Kentucky Fireworks led to a booming career helping local wholesalers who set up around Independence Day. Though business really picks up in the two months prior to the 4th of July, Kaboom operates year round with the family using some of the down time to assemble assortments and for maintenance.

"The resident businesses here are hard-working families," Tim said, "and when they sell, the money stays here and circulates in our community…Usually it's a family-oriented business, and because of that fact, they last."

Over the years, the industry has had its up and downs here in the commonwealth. Tim worked five years among those lobbying Kentucky legislators to loosen restrictions on consumer fireworks, which was ultimately done in 2011 with House Bill 333. Pyrotechnics, or commercial fireworks, require a special license.

Today, Kaboom's clients include not only individual customers but seven local dealers who set up at various stands along US 27. Tim said he helps his customers file required paperwork and make sure they are "100-percent" compliant with state and federal laws. He also goes over safety with them.

Such service also extends to those consumers who are looking to host community events.

"[He builds] custom firework shows for local organizations…for 15-20 years," son Travis Walden, who uses his vacation to help with the business this time of year, noted. "These are repeat customers. The reason they do that is, not just for a good deal, but he will actually design the show, time the show, and wire it up for them.…They can just fire it; it makes it easy for them."

When working with a customer to design a show, Tim asks a number of questions to determine what the customer wants. Those questions include how many will be involved in shooting the fireworks, expectations for show length and finale, and the budget involved.

In terms of individual customers, Kaboom specializes in "family bags" that include a mix of Snap N Pops, sparklers, and more. "We can't make enough of them," Tim said. "It'll make Dad happy, boys and girls happy; it's got everything in it.

"The biggest advantage that your local businesses have is they will deal with you on price where the big corporations cannot. It's locked in solid," he continued. "If it wasn't for that simple fact, I wouldn't be here."

Firework Safety Tips

Find a safe firing area away from houses, people and flammable material.Keep a bucket of water nearby for fireworks that don't go off or in case of a fire.Keep the audience at least 250 feet away.Wear protective eyewear.Clean up after the show: soak fireworks in water before discarding them or wait until the next day because they hold heat for 3-4 hours after being shot.Don't hold fireworks in your hands.Don't allow children to handle fireworks.

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