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SOUTHLAND BUSINESS

Fireworks Hot

August 24, 1986|JUBE SHIVER Jr.

The nationwide broadcasts of the Independence Day fireworks spectacle near the Statue of Liberty in New York last month is expected to trigger an increase in demand for pyrotechnics in the fall and winter off-season, says the head of a California fireworks company.

Robert Souza, president of Rialto-based Pyro Spectacular, said he expects his off-season business to increase by 30% this year because widespread media coverage of the Fourth of July event has spurred interest in holding fireworks shows in the sports and entertainment community as well as state and local governments.

"We've had calls from cities, corporations, amusement parks and other types of service organizations," Souza said. "People are beginning to realize the high entertainment and promotional value of a black sky canvas covered with bright, bursting shells."

Pyro Spectacular, one of the largest fireworks production companies in the nation, produces more than 400 shows on the Fourth of July, the company claims. Those shows, however, account for only 33% of the company's annual business, compared to about 70% some 10 years ago. The increase is evidence that off-season business is growing rapidly, said James Souza, vice president of Pyro Spectacular.

Demand is particularly strong among regional symphony companies as well as at night baseball games, Souza said.

But there has also been more interest in the business community for the fireworks shows, which can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000, depending on the number and complexity of the pyrotechnics, the company said.

Recently, for example, Pepsi-Cola, Anheuser-Busch, the city of Pasadena, Abraham & Straus and Bloomingdale's department stores each sponsored a fireworks shows in the off-season.

Pyro Spectacular said that Anheuser-Busch's sponsorship of a fireworks show during the Bud Light Star of Light for Texas' Sesquicentennial proved so successful that the company quickly signed up Pyro to put on a fireworks show at a similar event in Arkansas.

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