Business with a bang

For one local operation, fireworks run in the family
Jul. 03, 2013 @ 06:12 PM

A 13-year-long business operation in pyrotechnics began on a whim.

Anita Leggette, owner of A&B Family Sales, was on a cruise with her husband, Ferrell, when she heard about her boss's success in selling fireworks.

"I certainly didn't know anything about selling fireworks," Leggette said. "But I had a brother, Johnny Hall, and I knew this would be right up his alley."

A decade later, Leggette and her family sell fireworks in a two-location operation every Fourth of July and New Years. A&B Family Sales — short for Anita and the Boys — runs the only local fireworks tents in the county, with the other fireworks sellers coming in from out of state.

"It's hard work," she said "But it's a lot of fun. We are family oriented and we see the same faces each year."

After their third year running the fireworks tent, Leggette said her brother died unexpectedly and she's kept running the business as a memorial to him.

"We were totally different," she said. "He was high spirited and a risk taker. I was the total opposite. When the opportunity presented itself, I never thought of doing it on my own because it was so far out of my element."

The first year, the two sold out of supplies immediately, and Leggette said she was surprised by the community turnout and support. That loyalty has continued throughout the years, she said.

"We love to see the people," she said. "It's tiring work, but it's fun and rewarding to see all the familiar faces."

Leggette has one location near the intersection of U.S. 1 and Hickory House Road and a second location at the intersection of South Horner Boulevard and East Main Street. 

"We set everything out each morning and pack it up each night," she said. "We keep everything dry, and our calling card is when people buy $10 worth of items, they get $10 worth of items free."

The fireworks are all legal in North Carolina, Leggette said, and she tries to focus on items every family member will enjoy, regardless of age.

"Lots of families support us," she said. "We've seen two generations of kids come through and pick out their fireworks."

Leggette said she's tried to maintain a family and friendly atmosphere, including having her children help run the tents throughout the years, and the second location is manned by a church friend, George Duval.

The recent summer storms delayed the family from opening as early as they would have liked, Leggette said, but they've had a lot of customers and expect several last-minute purchases today.

The two locations will be open today and, depending on the sales, might be open throughout the weekend.