Bridge Closure Leaves Fireworks Store Reeling

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The day before the Fourth of July is like Black Friday for fireworks stands but that’s not the case for a longtime fireworks store in Spencer County. Even though the store’s owners have to deal with obstacles out of their control, they are doing their best to get by.

Velotta’s fireworks, a Spencer County staple, is stuck in the middle. Beverly Velotta can see the closed signs on the Blue Bridge and she can see the impact on her business.

Already, she’s lost about 60% of her business and has the relatively empty store to prove it.

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The parking lot shouldn’t be this empty. The aisles shouldn’t be this quiet. And Beverly Velotta shouldn’t be this, well, bored.

“This place should be packed,” Velotta said. “As a matter of fact, we usually have to have people to help park cars.”

That help won’t be needed.

The day before we celebrate the United States, Velotta is divided between two of them. The fireworks store named after her late husband sits on the Indiana side of the Blue Bridge along State Road 161. The bridge has been closed for the last couple months for re-painting. The closure leaves her longtime store stuck in the middle and cut off from her Kentucky customers.

“You would not be able to get to these registers, no,” Velotta said. “The place would be full. That’s sad. We’ve been here over 30 years.”

Velotta is the kind of person who could tell you she was born on the Fourth of July and you’d believe it. That’s why this firecracker of a businesswoman has deeply discounted everything from bottle rockets to airborne assaults.

“I’m not saying I’m giving them away but i’m pretty much going to cost on all this,” Velotta said. “I just need help this year.”

“And if I don’t sell it, I’m in trouble. I still gotta pay my bills. The tax people, they still want their money.”

A relatively quiet fireworks store, it’s a strange sight really. Left to deal with a situation beyond her control, Velotta can’t help but think of her husband who passed away not too long ago.

“What would he be thinking,” Velotta said. “Oh, I don’t even want to think about what he’d be thinking. He’d be upset.”

Velotta later added she hopes her loyal customers and even new customers will take the 25-mile detour and stop by because if they do, there are discounts of up to 30%.

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