By: Michelle Booth | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: May 2011
Big Blast is a family company. From left to right, Co-Founders Harry and Sherry Barbour, Melissa Torkleson – Business Development, Lindsey Barbour – CFO, and bringing them up in the business are the Barbours’ three grandsons. (Not pictured: Brandi Crawford, Office Manager)
For the past 20 years, Big Blast Fireworks has been helping non-profit groups raise thousands of dollars by selling fireworks. The 2011 season runs from June 22 through July 4, and Big Blast locations will be open seven days a week. “It’s a great way for groups to bond together,” said Sherry Barbour, owner of Big Blast Fireworks. “A group can condense its hours served into a two-week period and have one major fundraiser.”
Group expenses are minimal. Big Blast provides all fireworks at no up-front cost to the organization, and they take back any unsold inventory at the end of the season. A fully functional sales location with either a 40-foot by 60-foot tent or one or more conventional 24-foot stands is provided. The only items the group is responsible for supplying are simple items such as tape, staples and pens.
“It really is an ideal fundraiser,” said Barbour. “Fireworks are a cash and carry product that people go looking for. There are no door-to-door sales involved.”
Groups are paid 20 percent of net sales. Historical earnings have ranged between $3,000 and $12,000. There is the potential for an experienced returning group to exceed these amounts.
Big Blast is dedicated to partnering with organizations to meet their fundraising goals. “Our heart is to work with groups that are helping grow our community through youth programs and outreach services,” Barbour said. “We carefully select the inventory for every location and work with each organization to set realistic goals.”
Big Blast provides training and support to prepare groups for operating successful fireworks stands. “There is a learning curve the first year,” said Barbour. “The returning groups need less support. They operate their stands like well-oiled machines.”
Teens that enjoy fireworks can be the best salespeople and help groups exceed their goals. According to Barbour, enthusiasm and a willingness to serve customers with a smile is what makes groups successful raising money for their organizations. “We instruct our groups to tell the customer who they are and why they are raising money,” she said. “This puts heart in the purchase and gives the customers satisfaction in knowing they are supporting their community.”
In addition to a commission check, Big Blast provides personal incentives to the volunteers that work. They offer daily top salesperson awards and overall top salesperson awards for each location. The favorite perk is the 50 percent discount volunteers receive when purchasing their own fireworks.
For more information and a fireworks fundraising application, visit www.bigblastonline.com.