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What Fireworks Stands and Senior Living Have in Common

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By Steve Moran

I am sitting in my backyard writing this on the afternoon of July 3rd. In Sacramento and a number of other places -- at least in California -- selling “safe and sane” fireworks is, for 10 days, a huge, huge business. They are way more prolific than even Starbucks.

Only not-for-profits are allowed to sell fireworks and only for a few days leading up to Independence Day. And it is crazy stuff. You can spend as little as a buck for something not very entertaining. The price goes all the way up to $500 or $600 for a huge neighborhood pack.

Just About The Same

Driving around and seeing them on every corner made me realize that fireworks stands and senior living are just about the same . . .

There is one on every corner and they all look more or less the same . . .

Now hear me out.

At least in my area, there appear to be just three brands of fireworks being sold. TNT, Phantom, and Black Cat. And in doing a bit of reconnaissance at competing stands, they mostly sell the same thing. Though I am sure that if you were to talk to experts from TNT or Phantom they would be able to tell you the fine points of why they are different.  

Though senior living has more brands, in reality, the differences are pretty subtle.

There Are Differences . . .

When it comes to fireworks, there are three ways they compete . . .

  1. The biggest single advantage is having the right location where there is a huge amount of traffic.

  2. Then because each of the stands supports some kind of not-for-profit . . . often scouts or sports teams . . . the size of their network and influence is likely the most important thing.

  3. As you get closer to the last day of operations sometimes you will see some discounting, which might get you a better show at a lower cost, or it might just get you fireworks that no one wants.

See . . . just like senior living.

One Final Difference

I don’t actually know if this is true but there is one other way they may compete and that is with amazing customer service. The two booths I stopped at had very friendly parents selling wares, but I was not blown away . . . this is not a criticism, but I am thinking that a booth could actually create some kind of experience that would draw in new customers and create repeat customers and become a “word of mouth” fireworks juggernaut.

What do you think?

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