The six Lodi nonprofits that sold fireworks this year have their final profit estimates, and they appear strong: average gross sales increased by $4,000 of booths compared to last year.
This is the second year safe and sane fireworks were permitted for sale and use in Lodi city limits from June 28 until July 4.
Art Hand, assistant superintendent of facilities and planning for Lodi Unified, was pleased with the profits from the Giving Opportunities To Kids booth.
"It was a fantastic result. We did much better than we could have hoped for or expected," he said. GOT Kids sold $77,000 in fireworks and took home about $35,000.
Tiffany Brawith helped organize the Tokay Junior Tigers booth, and said the process had more expenses than she thought and was tough to set up.
"I would do it again, now the we know. But the initial run through is a nightmare," she said. The group sold $35,000 worth of fireworks and made $7,000 in profits.
The Sister Cities Committee sold $26,000 in fireworks, but did not have their final profit figured prepared. Committee president Bill Hinkel said the project came with a lot of expenses, so the sales figure doesn't have much meaning.
The committee split their profits with two other groups Hinkel chose not to name.
"This year was not as good as some of the vendors were hoping, probably because of the economy," he said.
Paula Leary, director of the Pregnancy Resource Center, said they sold $52,000 in products and made $14,000. They shared the profits with First Baptist Church.
Manning a fireworks booth is a very physical job, she said. Between retrieving fireworks from storage and setting up in the morning, selling the explosives all day in the heat, and storing the leftovers at another site each night, many volunteers were needed at every booth.
"It was just so much work. We couldn't do it on our own," she said. The men's ministry from the church volunteered to help with the heavy lifting and storage.
The One-Eighty Teen Center also ran a fireworks booth, but did not return calls requesting comment.
Randall Oliver, a teacher at Vineyard Christian Middle School, said they sold $46,000 worth of fireworks and brought home over $13,000 in profit.
"It was a tremendous amount of effort, but there are not that many opportunities to do two week's worth of work for $13,000. Until I'm ready to write a check for that much, we'll continue to pursue this," he said.
Not all of these groups will be eligible to run a booth next year. If a group was selected two years in a row, they must wait a year to put their name in the lottery again.
Dennis Revell, a spokesman for TNT Fireworks, said the company collected a 4 percent surcharge on sales.
The city of Lodi doesn't have a hand in fireworks sales after the initial lottery is complete. Police, fire and park staff monitor the booths to make sure they're operating within the law, according to interim Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Hood.
Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at firstname.lastname@example.org.