DUPONT—Thirteen years ago, Joseph Vullo let a friend talk him into opening a fireworks store.
“It was something different to do,” Vullo said. “Now that I’ve retired, it’s a lot easier for me.”
Vullo, 77, has spent 50 years in sales. The Pittston Township resident was in vehicle towing, ran the garage at Pittston’s truck stop and worked as a Dunlop tire distributor.
Today, he distributes fireworks to walk-in customers — the shop doesn’t sell through mail order or online. However, keeping things personal hasn’t hurt the store’s ability to sell outside the community.
“One day we had a person who came in here from Mexico,” Vullo said. “Ten minutes later, an Army Jeep pulled in here that was from Alaska. We get a lot of California here, Seattle, Washington, New Mexico.”
Vullo attributes the geographical variety of customers to his location. Springbrook Fireworks’ building at 501 Ziegler St. sits moments off Interstate 81’s Dupont and Pittston exits. It’s also close to Pennsylvania’s Turnpike, as well as to Pennsylvania Highway 315.
Location may explain how out-of-town patrons find Springbrook Fireworks, but Vullo said they return because of the buying experience.
“We run a good business here; we take care of our customers and we give good service,” he said. “People forget the price but they never forget the service.”
The “we” Vullo referred to includes his son-in-law Brian Heal and his daughter Paula Vullo-Heal. Each is now co-owner of Springbrook Fireworks, with Brian leaving his own sales career to join the business three years ago and Paula transitioning from life as a chemist to life as a fireworks salesperson in January.
The expanded team allows Springbrook Fireworks to focus on the expanded local customer base fireworks stores can now serve. As of October 2017, a license is no longer required to purchase fireworks in Pennsylvania. Heal said potential customers were scared to enter the store without a license, but now anyone over 18 can visit and make a purchase without fear of prosecution.
Vullo offered advice for first-time buyers.
“They should know what they want. Do they want noise or do they want color?” he asked..
Vullo-Heal said the shop also stocks products for specific audiences and occasions.
“We have everything,” she said. “Stuff for kids, weddings, gender reveals with pink or blue fireworks we’ll wrap for you.”
As fireworks expand into new celebrations like gender reveal parties — and into more Pennsylvania homes thanks to more lenient regulation — the Springbrook Fireworks team said expects to serve more Greater Pittston residents than ever.
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