Warehouses Taking A Toll On Roadside Fireworks Stands

11 days, twice a year. Every year roadside fireworks stands open only for the Fourth of July and New Years.

Big warehouses now threaten the livelihood of those small, independently owned stands. But owners say they don't just do it for the money.

Art Dunnavant has sold fireworks at a roadside stand for 15 years. His stand off Judson road outside Longview is a good source of income. "I'm disabled and when you're disabled the money becomes low. It's a little supplement to my income," says Art.

Money may be the reason Art does it, but it's not the reason he looks forward to it every year. "It's a lot of fun. The fun keeps you doing it. The children are fun. It's like a candy store for them," says Art.

During fireworks season Keith Sampson spends his days and nights at his family's stand off highway 149. He has no running water and for him it's become an adventure."You just try to survive like on survivor. It's your own homemade series of survivor," says Keith.

Keith's family owns about a dozen stands throughout East Texas. But he admits, big warehouses are hurting their business. "You see it. It has died down with a lot of warehouses going in," says Keith.

For Art, this may be his last year at the roadside fireworks stand. Large warehouses and state regulations are taking it's toll on him as well. He says he'll miss the people he meets here the most.

"The most fun thing is to reach out and give some little old kid something that maybe his parents couldn't buy. Just because they look like they can't afford it, they can here," says Art.

Keith Sampson says his family has also recently built a fireworks warehouse in the hopes that they can stay in the fireworks business a little longer.

Amy Tatum reporting. atatum@ktlv.com