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Family-owned firework businesses passing on 40-year tradition to new generation

Business & Money

IDAHO FALLS – For two local families, running a fireworks stand is more than just a longstanding tradition — it’s in their blood.

Tanys Searle and her husband, Nick, own Flowerworks Fireworks, a venture that began nearly 40 years ago.

It has grown to include seven different locations scattered throughout Arco, Pocatello, Shelley, Idaho Falls and Rigby, with their main location in front of Country Corner on Ammon Road.

firework stand searle fam
Two fireworks stands owned by the Searle family. | Tanys Searle

Tanys tells EastIdahoNews.com her dad, Keith Flower, started the business in Blackfoot when she was 3 years old.

“There’s a gas station in Blackfoot called Short Stop off the old Yellowstone Highway,” Tanys recalls. “We had just a teeny tiny — almost looks like a double outhouse — little wood shed that my dad had built when we started selling fireworks.”

It all got started with a bet her dad made with a friend. At one time, her dad sold snow cones and polish dogs. Tanys remembers that it snowed one year in the middle of June and the snow cone shack wasn’t doing well.

“My dad was joking around with one of his friends about selling fireworks. He told my dad he wouldn’t be able to do it,” Tanys explains.

In an effort to prove his friend wrong, Keith set one up the following year and the rest is history.

The family opened a second Blackfoot location in front of Homestead Family Restaurant several years later. By the time Tanys was in high school, they had a third one in Shelley.

Tanys took over the business with her husband around 2005. The business no longer has a presence in Blackfoot but Tanys says she’s enjoyed carrying on the family tradition with her four kids to help run it.

searle fam
A recent photo of the Searle family. | Tanys Searle

When asked what she likes most about the venture, Tanys responded it’s all about the people.

“I really love people and getting to know them. You don’t get to interact with them very long, but sometimes we get stories and we get people coming back every year. That’s really my favorite part,” she says.

Tanys is excited to be in a new Rigby location this year and they’re hoping the business will continue for years to come.

Flowerworks Fireworks opened for the season on June 20 and will be open through the evening of July 4.

TNT Fireworks

TNT Fireworks is another staple fireworks stand in Rexburg celebrating its 45th year of operation this summer.

Dave Webster owns three locations with his wife, Shatzi, which they’ve operated for the last 20 years.

tnt newspaper
TNT Fireworks as featured in an old newspaper clipping. | Dave Webster

Dave’s mom and dad, Lynn and Shirlee, opened a stand in front of Broulim’s in 1977 the year Dave was born.

“They raised six kids and they started the fireworks stand because they wanted us to know how to count money back to people and to learn math,” Dave says.

Lynn taught school in Rigby for 26 years and the fireworks stand brought in an income during the summer months.

At that time, it was called L & S Fireworks. TNT originally operated another location on the other side of the parking lot.

“Dick Broulim used to let us set up for $80 in the parking lot. Then TNT came in and set up on the other side for a couple of years,” Dave recalls. “Broulim’s had a contract with TNT … so that pushed us out.”

The Websters started running the TNT stand at the owner’s request when the person running it quit. It’s been a Webster family operation ever since.

webster old pic
A member of the Webster family in the fireworks stand many years ago. | Dave Webster

Two additional locations in front of Walmart and Albertson’s came along later and Dave is proud of the business he’s inherited.

“I love to see the joy in the kid’s faces when they come see fireworks. They’re so excited to see all the colors and they also know they get to spend time with their families for Independence Day,” Dave says. “It’s a novelty and it’s super fun.”

Money from the fireworks stand funds a family vacation for Dave and his family every year and one of their goals is to take a family photo in front of every state sign.

TNT is open for the season, as of Saturday. It’s open seven days a week through July 4.

“A great big thank you to the community for all the support. It’s super fun for us but we have people who come every year. They just know that we’re there for them,” says Dave.

Lynn Webster
Lynn Webster interacting with customers in the fireworks stand many years ago. | Dave Webster

What to know before purchasing fireworks

City officials in Idaho Falls are reminding those who purchase fireworks to be safe and refrain from lighting them in public gathering areas or near other firework shows.

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Always have a bucket of water, hose, and/or a fire extinguisher nearby. Know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.
  • Completely submerge spent fireworks in a bucket of water and allow them to soak overnight. Never place spent fireworks in a plastic garbage can or near a structure or other flammable material.
  • Closely supervise children around fireworks. Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. Children must be at least 16 years of age to light fireworks. Sparklers may seem harmless, but can cause severe injuries as they burn at about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Be respectful of others and keep in mind that there are individuals and animals who do not cope well with loud noises.
  • If someone is injured by fireworks, seek medical attention immediately.
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