Bowling Green—Even with heavy storm clouds brewing on the horizon, nothing could dim Curtis Peak’s smile while he tended to his fireworks stand just outside Bowling Green’s city limits July 4.
Yes, it was Independence Day and Peak and his family—and a few others—were busy selling fireworks to some last-minute buyers. Or possibly selling some to those who had already used up their original supply of Lady Liberties and Mississippi Mayhems. Either way, it was a hectic day for Peak. Sweat was pouring down his face as he worked to keep his inventory fresh, so buyers could find what they wanted.
Peak has been in the fireworks business for about 10 years. He said he started out selling with one of his cousins in Westminster for three years.
But he’s a Bowling Green native and wanted to open shop in his home town. Seven years ago he made the move and started his own fireworks business on the edge of town.
“Business has been pretty steady this year,” he said. He sets up shop under a tent along Rt. 161, as the sign at the Crossroads General Store says, “Over the hill.”
Usually there is a steady stream of customers pulling into the grass lot. But on July 3 and 4, “we get slammed,” Peak said. In the seven years he’s been selling fireworks here, the number of customers has remained about the same.
One of the biggest reasons he decided to bring his business to Bowling Green is the people.
“I like how they have your back,” he said. One year, a particularly bad windstorm snapped the ropes of his tent and threatened to ruin that year’s sales. “People driving by pulled over and came to help” secure the tent. “People came running to help me out. It was so awesome to have them here.
“It’s like everyone is family around here,” he added. “Your next door neighbor would be there in a second if something was happening.”
His biggest sellers are the Cakes, a type of firework that shoots flaming balls into the air. Not to mince words, but they give a lot of bang for the buck.
“A lot of people like the Cakes,” he said. “Some are nine-shot, 24 shots, 27 shots, 156 shots. You can shoot them off one at a time, and it gives you an awesome show in the sky.”
Peak has his two sons and one daughter-in-law helping him out with the stand.
“It’s a true family business,” he said, while pointing out his mother, who was just pulling out of the lot. “The whole family loves it. My brother from St. Charles comes down to help out, too.”
Peak said he visits about 10 to 15 fireworks demonstrations a year, so he can decide which company he’s going to get his supplies from. By the beginning of June he has his order in so he can have his inventory on hand when he opens the stand.
His license to sell fireworks allows Peak to sell on New Year’s Eve, but he normally doesn’t have enough inventory left by then.
“I’ve had friends message me, asking if I was doing any selling for New Year’s Eve,” he said. “I have thought of putting up a little building here, so I could sell then, too.”
His stand sits on Rodney Hay’s property.
“He’s like a brother to me. We’ve known each other since we were kids,” Peak said. He remembers a time when Rodney’s grandmother ran a fireworks stand on the same spot years ago. When he was just a teen, Peak would ride his bike over the hill to buy fireworks.
“For $20 she would put as much as she could fit into your bag,” he said. “I try to do the same thing for the teens today.”
Because of all the business this community gives him, Peak said, he likes to give back by throwing a big party out at his stand, and do a fireworks show for everyone who wants to stop by. This year’s show was held on Saturday, July 6.