Grand Island fireworks stand keeps tradition going after owner’s passing

Rockin' Rich's Fireworks in Grand Island is one of numerous stands opening today in the tri-cities.
Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 12:22 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - As of Tuesday morning, firework stands were officially able to start selling their inventory in Grand Island, Hastings, and Kearney.

Rockin’ Rich’s Fireworks is in its 17th summer of operation in Grand Island.

For this crew, it’s become a family business and a labor of love. Owner Kelli Wemhoff’s father, Rich Raile, unexpectedly passed away in 2018 shortly before the summer holiday. It was after his untimely death that she and her sister decided to keep the stand going.

“Me and my sister run the stand now that my dad has passed. And then our husbands help as well. And we have some great neighbors and family friends that always lend a helping hand,” Wemhoff said.

Honoring their dad is a big reason they continue to operate the firework stand, but it’s also the customers that keep them going.

“We see the same faces especially since we’ve been here for 17 years,” Wemhoff said. “The kids that were babies that are now buying them, or buying them with their kids. It’s fun to see those families come by year after year.”

When it comes to inventory, the previous two years were the most challenging for them due to COVID. Even with supply chain issues lingering they were still able to get all of their orders in on time.

“We were able to get a little bit more this year. We were able to get more inventory than in recent years, so that was good for us,” Wemhoff said.

She’s also making sure the kids have fun with it as well.

“We have a lot of new fountains for kids,” Wemhoff said. “I’ve been doing a lot of research on kids’ fountains. I’m trying to get the kids involved. We have a lot of new stuff: the black dragon, the honey badger, more bottle rockets, so a lot of good inventory.”

Rockin’ Rich’s Fireworks is located in the Dairy Queen parking lot on West Capitol Avenue in Grand Island.

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