Anthony Saikin knows his fireworks.
“I’ve pretty much grown up in a fireworks stand,” said the 22-year-old.
He even makes sound effects to give his customers the full experience of what to expect when purchasing.
His parents own the stand in Leesburg off Catoctin Circle, along with one in Purcellville, the Algonkian area and in Brunswick, Md. Any stand that’s a red box, Saikin says, is owned by his family in the Northern Virginia and southern Maryland areas.
The fireworks are supplied from Jake’s Fireworks in Kansas. The Saikin family rolls out their firework boxes in the middle of June and stay open until July 8 or 10, depending on how much merchandise is left.
“We usually get heavily decimated on the third or fourth. The fifth and sixth, that’s deal day. We make whatever deal we can,” Saikin said. “Then afterward, fireworks are good for as long as they’re not wet, so we store them until next year.”
As for Virginia’s laws for fireworks, Saikin says nothing can blow up, leave the ground, disperse in the air or move. But many residents of Virginia tend to leave the state to buy illegal fireworks.
“That’s something that’s been done as long as there’s been Pennsylvania and West Virginia,” Saikin said about people crossing state lines to get illegal fireworks.
According to the Virginia Department of Forestry, possessing, selling or using unlawful fireworks is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia — punishable as long as one year in jail and a fine of $2,500. Some counties, such as Chesterfield and Henrico outside of Richmond, completely ban the sale, possession and use of any type of fireworks, including sparklers.
In 2011, $232.3 million worth of fireworks were imported from China, which represents a huge portion of fireworks purchased in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
What’s Saikin’s favorite firework?
“I’ve been been doing this so long, my favorite fireworks have been retired,” he said.
He said many returning customers request fireworks by name. Saikin said one of their big sellers is one called Purple Rain.
“It creates a tower of crackles,” Saikin says.
Saikin’s days are complied of having conversations with customers about what type of firework to purchase.
“I do enjoy talking to people, I have interesting conversations with them. Really describing the fireworks, I’m a little more of a outgoing person, I’ll gladly use sound effects to describe things to people,” he said. “We light pretty much everything off, so we know what everything does. We can give pretty accurate descriptions. I do enjoy the fact that I can give legitimate recommendations. My parents also only buy things they like. I really do enjoy helping people out.”
Drew Saikin, Anthony’s father, saw opening up a fireworks stand as a great family business opportunity. He said they have six locations that do extremely well in and around Northern Virignia.
“We are very grateful to the people of Loudoun County who have made the stands a success,” Drew Saikin said.
His children have grown up working there along with their friends. Drew Saikin said the money his son earns has helped pay for college.
In the off-season, Saikin is a college student. His father is a floor manager at the Charles Town Hollywood Casino and his mother is a secretary.