Fireworks are a blast for Weakley County man

Fireworks are a blast for Weakley County man
Fireworks are a blast for Weakley County man | Ken Basham, fireworks

Ken Basham of Greenfield, who works at MTD, started selling fireworks because he said he couldn’t find the “stuff” he liked. He has several tents in Weakley County and says he’s having a great time teaching his customers about firework safety.
Ken Basham has been having a blast every day lately. Quite literally. From now through the Fourth of July holiday, the Obion County native will be in charge of sitting under a striped tent and selling the most explosively exciting item of the summer, fireworks. This year, Basham has the help of his wife Dawn, stepdaughter Jordanna and daughter Kennedy, but he is no newcomer to selling fireworks. He’s been at the business between seven and eight years. The Bashams have been residents of Greenfield, Dawn’s hometown, and will soon move to Martin. Basham has two tents set up — one on Skyhawk Parkway across the road from the University of Tennessee at Martin’s Bettye Giles softball field in Martin and one in front of the Family Dollar Store in Dresden. This, of course, is not a full-time job for Basham as he works for MTD, but the passion and child-like enthusiasm he exudes when dealing with fireworks and his customers makes the quality of his work seem like much more than just “a hobby” in this family business. Basham began selling fireworks when he could never manage to find the kind he wanted at other firework tents. “I couldn’t find the stuff I wanted,” Basham admitted. “So, at the time, I had a partner and found the fireworks we wanted and started the business, but it’s a hobby, not a living.” What Basham wanted to find was the “big, bright stuff that would put on a good show and the legal professional stuff.” Now, Basham offers a host of artillery shells as well as other crowd pleasers and cites his biggest sellers as being the reloadables, heavy weights and kiddie items. Reloadables include artillery shells, heavy weights are finale fireworks used to end a show and kiddie items include the rolling tanks and cars and spinners. Of course, Basham always sells his share of the classics including bottle rockets, Roman candles, sparklers, snap and pops, Twitter Glitter and Killer Bees. He gets his fireworks from a wholesale warehouse and this year, even managed to bring in a particular firework called a Skyhawk. “We’re the only tent in Martin that is locally owned other than the Fullers outside of Martin,” Basham said. “This year there are only two of us.” As much as walking inside a large firework tent can seem like pushing open the doors to a toy store, however, Basham constantly reminds customers that fireworks are not toys and should always be handled with great care. “People need to be aware that the wind will very much affect the direction a firework will travel. The wind tends to push the firework in the direction it’s blowing. No doubt, fireworks are a fire hazard and people need to keep that in mind if they are shooting out in the country near wheat fields. Shoot somewhere with water readily available so that if something happens, one will be near. Think responsibly before putting on a show. Fire extinguishers are inexpensive, so purchase one. Anytime a firework doesn’t go off, don’t trust it. Don’t look down the barrel of it. Stay away. That’s one of the biggest ways people get hurt. A new law was implanted last year that you must be 16 to purchase fireworks,” Basham explained. “Don’t hold them in your hands,” Dawn added. “Put them on a flat surface and move away.” The dangerous nature of his product takes nothing away from the fun of it, though. “The best thing about this is getting to talk to the customers about their fireworks and helping them put shows together,” Basham admitted. “This worst part is putting this all away. For me, this is Christmas in July.”

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