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Non-Profits in Holiday Stretch Run


Those in the fireworks business will tell you that this is the busiest time for their booths. Eighty percent of the sales happen in the last three days heading into the Fourth of July.

In the metro, the majority of fireworks tents don't get a license unless there's a non-profit that gets a percentage of the money.

A Papillion family often shops based on particular organizations.

Emily Baarson verified that, telling us, "Yes we do. We supported another tent a little bit a go that supports the Special Olympics."

At a Bellevue stand on Fort Crook, in the No-Frills parking lot, the Bellevue Little Theatre takes home, on average, $6,000 after paying the bills. It’s money used to get the season going at the theatre.

Sometimes people stop by looking for a different non-profit and they look out for the other guys.

Curtis Leach, with the Bellevue Little Theatre, said, “Someone will come in here and ask. ‘do you know where St Mary's is?’ and we'll say, ‘they're down there.’ We try to help them out. We are all non-profits looking for help. It's not that we're going to steal someone else's customers."

Bellino Fireworks hoists around 40 tents in the metro, assuming the risk and liability. The Papillion company puts up 100 tents in four states this time of year.

While hooking up with non-profits is the norm for doing fireworks business in the metro it doesn't work that way for the other operations.

Don Bellino said, “I think people think they are getting rich but like everything else rents are becoming very excessive in the metro because everyone's trying to get those great locations. So costs have been driven up.”

Here's a look inside the numbers for Omaha. Last year, the average sales for a fireworks stand totaled $68,000. The average payout to the non-profits was $13,000.


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