Epic Fireworks is one of the most talked about firework retailers in the UK Firework Review members' forum. With headline grabbing slogans of "All fireworks less than half price" and "The largest range of fireworks in the UK" it was time to take a look at the Epic operation and the people behind it. Report by Pyro Pete.

The Epic showroom was easy to find, being located a short drive from the M1 and M62. Batley might as well be Outer Mongolia to a Southerner like me, but with a sat nav and Epic's map as backup I got there without problems. Despite its town location the showroom is situated in an industrial unit so there is ample free parking. Like all good retailers a coffee machine and toilet is at the ready for tired travellers!

The first thing that struck me is the huge range of fireworks on sale. Rather than go for glass cabinets or anything posh like that, Epic have mounted the bulk of their range on every available square foot of wall space. It's the only way to fit it all in!

That did mean the usual photographs would not do this shop justice, so a full 360 degree panorama was called for. You can see a flattened version of this below, but click on the Quicktime or Flash links to view it in a proper interactive format. As you spin the 360 degree image around you can get a sense of the large amount of products on show.

The second thing that struck me was the Epic staff. Both Paul and Jimmy Singh were there and they have an infectious enthusiasm for fireworks. As they were showing me around I couldn't help but smile too at some of UKFR's most highly rated fireworks being sold at staggeringly low prices.

HALF PRICE FIREWORKS AND FREE DELIVERY

Epic Fireworks have the simple aim of selling all their fireworks at half price or less. The sheer size of their company gives them huge buying power and the savings they make are passed on to their customers.

For orders over a certain value, free delivery is offered (quite a bonus these days with escalating fuel costs) and Epic use their own in-house fleet of ADR trained drivers.

Epic are proud to service customers all over the UK including distant places like Cornwall and Scotland that would make many smaller retailers quiver.

Visiting in person gives you more choice in terms of what you can buy. A "pick and mix" order from Epic for delivery is only possible when buying in full cases because that's the nature of their operation (the cost savings of doing that playing a part in lowering their prices).

For bigger items which are packed one or two in a carton this isn't a problem, but those on a budget or looking for smaller fireworks would benefit from a visit direct to the showroom where you can buy as much or as little of any item as you like.

DISPLAY PACKS TO SUIT ALL BUDGETS - AVAILABLE ALL YEAR

A good range of full display packs is available either for collection or delivery. These cover all budgets from under £100 right up to £2000.

Looking at their current packs there are some huge savings to be had. For example there's a £500 pack with an RRP of over £1000 and is indicative of the level of discount on offer right through Epic's range. Even a £100 pack has over £200 of fireworks included.

Whilst every firework operation is geared around Guy Fawkes, Epic is also an all year retailer. And they even do that in style too with 7 days a week opening right the way though the year. So the great discounts are available any time of year and not just for November 5th. Good news for the likes of me and my members who do like to let off pyro for many occasions not just bonfire night. So, any parties, weddings or BBQs can also benefit from these offers.

EXPERT ADVICE AND FREE TO ACCESS VIDEO CLIPS

In addition to top quality products there is also help on hand from Epic staff who really know their business. It has to be said that any firework is good at these prices, but for those who need specific effects then the staff are very informed about what they sell. The Epic website, which at time of writing is just coming out of refurbishment to improve it, offers firework video clips too, so you can preview items before you buy. UKFR provides a further resource for my members, with Epic's range covering many top brands and new Epic items being featured each season too.

While I was there I saw a couple of customers who were ordering well in advance for Guy Fawkes. A short while later and very large trolleys were being wheeled out to the car park. Even a small budget translates into a large pile of pyro when it's half price or less. Let's just say everyone seems to leave that place with a smile, as the many photos of Epic customers show.

NEW SHOWROOM COMING SOON - AND UKFR DISCOUNT

An exciting development for 2009 is Epic's new showroom which is currently under construction. This will be on a five acre site just off the M1. Critically for hardcore fireworks enthusiasts is the fact this huge site will allow the continued sale of "old school" fireworks which are now classified as 1.3G. That's anything which includes amounts of flashpowder prohibited under the 1.4G classification - a massive advantage over town centre retailers whose limited storage makes selling 1.3G impractical. I know the new regulations are depressing many of my members who lament at the watering down of consumer fireworks - well watch this space. I'll pop along when the new place is up and running to report back.

Finally, no visit would be complete without a cheeky request for extra discount for UKFR members. I always ask and retailers always squirm but seldom refuse as they see my pen hovering over my pad ready to note their response for the feature! Well Epic have kindly agreed that if you're collecting an order and make it clear you're a UKFR member when you arrive, they'll look after you. So, fill your boots (car boots!).

Many thanks to Paul and Jimmy for their hospitality and warm welcome. Full details can be found on the Epic Fireworks website or call them on 01924 422924.

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