Meet the Christi Fireworks Crew: That’s Christi third from right and Abby first right.
By Catherine Austin Fitts
I am always amazed at some of the great businesses that Solari subscribers create…especially our subscribers from the great state of Texas.
To celebrate the Fourth of July, I want to introduce you to Christi Cameron – she’s our hero this week on the Solari Report – and her Christi’s Fireworks in Van Alstyne, TX (That’s in Grayson and Collins counties in the Northeastern part). Talk about a free and inspired life!
I asked Christi to send a description of her upgraded fireworks stand. Here it is. If you are in the area, you will want to stop by!
Christi Cameron – Christi’s Fireworks
Van Alstyne, TX
How it started: My brother and I started selling fireworks the summer of 1980. It was between my 7th and 8th grade years. We had just moved from the big city of Plano (suburb of Dallas) to the tiny town of Van Alstyne in North Texas. Selling fireworks was my dad’s idea. He’s always been one of those self starter, very independent types and has always tried to do things for his kids to help them. We delivered newspapers in 5th and 6th grade, sold peaches up town from the back of a truck, and we even opened a small plant nursery one summer in a beat up old house close to downtown. My dad would consider doing anything to teach us and make a little money.
The first year we started the business, we were not even living in Van Alstyne full-time, just staying with some relatives. That left my brother and I basically on our own, but we were in it together. I remember being at the stand alone and running the car battery down because I was listening to the radio. I had to walk about a mile to the ball field in town and find someone to come out and give me a jump. And I knew NO ONE in town. Eventually I found some teenage guys willing to give the girl at the fireworks stand a jump!!
My family eventually settled in Van Alstyne, and the house we lived in was in the same ball field about half a mile from the stand. To get electricity to the stand, we ran extension cords from the house.
Over time, I took the lead on the business and about ten years after that first summer, I moved from the original stand to a spot on a major highway after my dad purchased a section of land on the service road of the highway. Again, he was looking out for me! He saw an auction sign for the land and thought he’d check it out. It was two acres right at an exit ramp. A perfect spot for a stand. The woman who originally owned it had portioned this section out for a nephew to open a restaurant and he never did. Who could ask for a better spot!! Once we moved to highway 75, it exploded; You know the saying, “location, location, location” We operated out of a fruit stand at this location for twenty six years.
Finally I took the plunge and built an indoor store in 2017. I did it almost begrudgingly because I liked the idea of an old school stand, but the heat and intense labor started to take it’s toll. So I built a 4,500 square foot insulated building, and I absolutely love it. It appears that the customers do too! We have customers who have been coming to us for 30 plus years.
Every year we send out postcards, put an ad in the local paper, pass out flyers around town, and we put up signs. The signs are 4×8 pieces of plywood that we hand paint with catchy sayings such as, “you won’t get burned at Christi’s.” It lends a certain charm to things. And we put up about 50 or so signs along a 5 mile stretch of major highway. One thing that won’t change is our signage. People stop specifically because of the signs.
Some memorable moments….
• catching the field on fire because my brother and I shot off some of the product, and the grass was dry.
• getting a ticket in 8th grade for driving through town and throwing firecrackers out the back of the car
• reaching in a car to get the keys of a guy who had earlier in the day purchased $2,000 in fireworks on a bad credit card in order to keep him from leaving before the police arrived. What was I thinking?
• dealing with too many drunks to mention, including one that came mere feet from the stand with his van because he pulled up over the sidewalk
• wheeling and dealing with guys and gals twice my age
• setting up a stand in a neighboring town only to find out that the people who took our money didn’t own the land.
• seeing numerous competitors come and go, but maintaining my customers throughout the years.
It’s been a great ride and one that I hope continues until my son is old enough to make it his own.
It prepared me for so many things in life; how to be a leader, run a small business, work with others older than me, work ethic and grit, and customer service. This business has also granted me the opportunity to pay for my college tuition, make a down payment on my first home, and helped me buy land.
• Today I run the business with my wife, Abby Cameron. She handles social media, marketing and all merch.
• I hope to pass the business on to my three year old son, Patrick.
• As the business grew, we have used local students to help sell and now have about 8-12 students that work each summer.
• We are open Memorial Day weekend, NYE weekend and June 24-July 4, yearly.
• 38 years in business
• Also own a machine shop in Richardson, TX
IG – @christisfireworks
Facebook – www.facebook.com/ChristisFireworks