If fireworks sales were an indication of how people in Calhoun County will celebrate New Years Eve, Brian Autry said Saturday afternoon that he expects the Sunday night sky to be bursting with color.
“Sales this year are much better than they were last year,” said Autry, the owner of BOGO Fireworks in Oxford. “It rained three days straight last year. It’ll be cold this year but at least it’ll be clear.”
Shoppers from Calhoun County and surrounding areas filled Autry’s two stores on U.S. 78, one about half a mile west of Oxford Middle School and the other near the intersection of Coleman Road.
Timothy Parker, a Munford native but now-California resident, said he was on leave from the Navy for the holidays. Parker filled his basket full of sparklers and other small fireworks.
“We figured it would be busier tomorrow so we’re getting our shopping out of the way now,” he said. “It’s just a fun thing we like to do with the family.”
Autry said being the only fireworks seller in Oxford has its perks and out-of-county shoppers is one of them.
“There just aren’t many of us left,” Autry said of fireworks sellers. “We’ll get a fair amount of Georgia residents stop in too.”
Autry explained that while fireworks sales are now legal in Georgia, there are many restrictions.
“They can sell most of what we can but there are restrictions on how much they can have in their store at a time,” Autry said. “So they run out quickly. They’ve not gotten up to speed with Alabama’s sales yet.”
Brock Nobinger and Trey Broughton came from Birmingham to shop at Autry’s store.
“He works for a guy who knows Brian,” Nobinger said of Broughton. “We were told Brian has the best fireworks in the state.”
Autry walked Nobinger and Broughton around the store pulling fireworks off the shelves and stacking them in the men’s arms. After topping off the stack of boxes with some lanterns and sparklers, Broughton paid nearly $350 for the haul.
“I’m 21 and this is my first time buying fireworks,” he said laughing. “Go big or go home.”
Broughton and Nobinger said they planned to have a small “get-together with friends,” but Autry said it’s parties like those that often bring the big spenders in.
“During July we have a lot of people who want personal-use fireworks,” he said. “During New Years more people throw parties and they want the big stuff.”
While Autry was busy Saturday, he said he expects most shoppers to come out Sunday.
“I have the most sales on July third and fourth and Dec. 31,” Autry said. “I’ll have several employees on hand for tomorrow.”