NJ fireworks tents and pop-up shops expecting big business this week
BRICK — Nineteen-year-old township resident Richard Petillo had no idea that any fireworks were legal in New Jersey.
Not until the shopping center he's lived near his whole life got a new temporary tenant — TNT Fireworks.
Speaking outside the shop in Laurel Square Shopping Center, Petillo said he plans to purchase one of the bigger, more expensive fireworks packages and split the cost with his friends.
"We're all going to have fun on the Fourth of July," he said.
The pop-up shop, one of nearly 30 temporary TNT locations in the state, entered its tenth day of business on Monday.
"This weekend we started having a huge influx of people," said manager Kaitlin Smalling. "We're definitely expecting 80 percent of our sales to come in the next two days."
The Fourth of July — in this year's case, Wednesday — is the Super Bowl for these stores, handling last-minute customers who can now legally purchase non-aerial, non-exploding fireworks in New Jersey.
Smalling said some residents are making purchases just so they can say they did so in their own state.
"They've been basically saying 'I have to tell all my friends. This is absolutely wild that this exists,'" she said.
TNT is one of a few fireworks retailers with a presence in the Garden State, whose products have been available in New Jersey supermarkets, big box stores and other locations since they became legal in June 2017.
You must be at least 18 years old to legally purchase fireworks in the state.
According to TNT spokesperson Sherri Simmons, people in New Jersey are "very receptive" to the newly-legal products.
A number of TNT's stands and tents are operated by nonprofits that take a share of the revenue to benefit their cause.