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Colorado Springs has grown around 35-year fireworks location

By: Emily Donovan emily.donovan@gazette.com
July 4, 2014 Updated: July 4, 2014 at 7:48 am
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Kaylee Hankins, 9, the Great Granddaughter of Collins Fireworks founder Floyd Collins, restocks a table with Boot-Legger Screamers ahead of Independence Day Thursday, July 3, 2014. The Collins family has owned and operated their fireworks tents outside Colorado Springs for 67 years. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette

Linda Garrett has been selling fireworks in El Paso County for so long that Colorado Springs came to her.

"We've been here for 35 years," she said. "We're not climbing into the city. The city came to us."

The Collins Fireworks tents around Colorado Springs are on El Paso County land where some fireworks are legal, and not technically in the city where they're banned. They've been at their location on Austin Bluffs Parkway east of Barnes Road for so long that Colorado Springs annexed the land near and around them.

For 67 years, Garrett's family has owned and operated Collins Fireworks, selling sparklers, fountains, smoke bombs, ground spinners and small tanks.

"It's in my blood," Garrett said. "It's a family tradition. It used to be so much fun."

Her father, Floyd Collins, opened the first Collins Fireworks stand with his brother and sister's help in 1947, the same year that she was born. She said he opened and closed a lot of other businesses through the years, but selling fireworks became a family tradition.

"We just kept doing them," Garrett said. "Why not fireworks?"

She now owns the business, with the help of her extended family.

Garrett's daughter, Tammy Hankins, 48, runs a tent where her kids work retail every summer.

"It's an incredible feeling to know that we are living our grandfather's legacy," Hankins said. "It's a family business."

Lacie Richardson, 26, one of Hankins' kids and Garrett's children, remembers making an assembly line with the other grandkids when she was little and bagging fireworks into variety packs.

Everyone who runs Collins Fireworks stands either is family or is like family after working with her for 30 years, Garrett said.

They card everyone to make sure customers are 16 or older. To be safe and legal, they don't sell "things that go boom" anymore, Hankins said, but everybody still loves to shop for fireworks for the Fourth of July holiday.

"It's not Christmas, but it's definitely close to it."

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