Charles Rempel has sold fireworks in Hillsboro since 2007, most recently from a former gas station on D Street. However, a last minute move put him in a better location with more retail floor space at 207 E. Ash, and he is not upset with the change.
“I moved because they kicked me out,” Rempel said, referring to a Florida company that owns the D Street building. “They told me Monday after Memorial Day that I was in, but then on Tuesday I got an e-mail to cease and desist. So I was out.”
Rempel said the D Street building was third on Hillsboro City Inspector Ben Steketee’s demolition list, so he thinks that may have something to do with the abrupt change.
“I’m not complaining,” he said. “This store actually works much better for me.”
Rempel became interested in dealing fireworks when he was part of the Community in Schools organization and was investigating fundraiser ideas.
“I did a lot of research and now I sell them because I can get them cheap,” he said.
Rempel said his prices just might be the lowest in Hillsboro, Marion County, and possibly the United States.
“I am not going to win on everything,” he said. “But I bet you I come close to having the lowest prices on a lot of items.”
In addition to selling Black Cat products, Rempel said big items were moving well this year.
“Totally Jacked have sold well (500 gram cakes) and I have already sold out of the Godfathers ($300 aerial shows),” he said. “The Quadrific’s are fast movers, and of course the little kids all like the smoke balls.”
Rempel said an item new to him this year was the Sea Monsters, an aerial cake with a finishing jellyfish effect.
He credited good sales to website advertising and said while many of his customers came from Hillsboro, more and more were coming from a wider area.
“I’ve had people in here from Marion, Hutchinson, McPherson and places in between,” he said.
James Schafer of rural Hillsboro said he brought his family, including eight children, into Rempel’s store because of the prices.
“We don’t go hog wild,” he said. “But the older kids each like to get something as long as we can afford it.”