Jordans Fireworks were founded in 1968 by husband and wife team Brian and Margaret Jordan. Now run by David and Sally Jordan, son and daughter of the aforementioned founders. David tells me that 'Dad' has now retired, but somehow still manages to visit their storage bunker located somewhere in the nearby Warwickshire countryside almost every morning!

Originally the business was a traditional sweet shop that even then had a good name for fireworks at Bonfire Night. Now it's a case of them selling the odd sherbet fountain (if you'll pardon the pun) amongst the endless shelves and display cabinets full of pyro that line the walls.

A wide selection of fireworks on display at Jordans' shop.

David goes on to say that the fireworks available in those early days were drastically different to those you can buy today. Astra, Benwell, Brocks, Pains Wessex and Wilders were the brands stocked at the time until the prestigious brand of Standard Fireworks was obtained after several years of trading. In those days it was hard to open an account with Standard Fireworks particularly if they already had a stockist in the town. All of the fireworks stocked up until the 1980's were manufactured in Britain. Chinese fireworks made their appearance when the Sohni Esco brand were stocked.

During the late 1980's and early 1990's Jordans were an outlet for the first Chinese fireworks imported by Standard Fireworks. They were one of a handful of stockists in the country that trialed these early Chinese fireworks and many of the items that were stocked were the forerunners of those available today. By this time Brian and Margaret's children David and Sally had joined the business and Bonfire night had become the busiest time of the year for the company. David and Sally could see that the future for the company lay in the firework business and that was where all efforts for company growth were concentrated. It was with these early Chinese fireworks from Standard Fireworks Display Division that the company went in to the mail order display pack business.

Some of the best rockets from the Black Cat and Standard brands.

The growth in Chinese fireworks continued at such a pace that practically all firework manufacturers ceased to produce fireworks in Britain. Jordans were concerned that all of the firework manufacturing eggs were being placed in one basket and hence travelled to Germany to source products still manufactured in Europe. The result was the establishment of the company as the UK importer of Lunig fireworks. Working closely with the German manufacturers of high quality rockets produced a range of German manufactured display rockets the like of which had not been seen before in the UK market

Millennium year was a watershed in the firework business. Until then the number of people buying fireworks for New Year's Eve was a select band of enthusiasts. Trying to gauge how much stock would be required for Millennium Eve was an impossibility. All records were broken and practically every firework in stock was sold. Those who left their buying of fireworks 'till the afternoon of the event were faced with a choice of either a 20 shot Magic Ball Roman Candle or a Medium Sparkling Wheel. (It proved very difficult to make up a balanced display when you only had two fireworks to choose from).

Since then business has continued to improve. It seemed that the Millennium events had inspired more and more people to take an interest in fireworks, and it was during the week leading up to bonfire night this year (2004) that all sales records were smashed. "There was a queue of people right around the shop, out of the doors and onto the high street for most of the week" said David. "Our weekly sales record was beaten by an incredible £10,000".

David Jordan (left) and Brian Jordan (founder) and assistant Lorraine Guy (right).

The shop has undergone several changes over the years. The in-store firework showroom has grown and grown, so much so that it now occupies 50% of the total retail sales area during the off season and 75% of the shop area for the final week of Bonfire night. The re-fit during 2004 now enables Jordans to have their complete range displayed as dummy fireworks on shelves and velcro display boards, enabling customers to actually hold the fireworks in their hands rather just look in glass showcases. This makes Jordans already compliant with the anticipated changes in the regulations for the display of fireworks in retail premises. During 2005 the re-fit will be completed featuring DVD and video players for customers to see the effects of the fireworks on display. Jordans also run a mail order service which has out grown the original shop and is now dealt with from a Divisional storage facility in the Warwickshire countryside.

The shop has always been a Mecca for the firework enthusiast. Whereas most firework pack suppliers do not have retail premises, Jordans shop enables the novice and enthusiast alike to browse the extensive range of fireworks all year round. Jordans can also arrange for a professionally fired display for any occasion if you so desire. David doesn't fire himself anymore, but uses Pyro 2000, a group of guys from the Standard Fireworks display team who have over 100 years of experience in the field between them, under the wing of Graham Wilkinson also from Standard, with David providing his own safety checks at all displays.

Jordans choose the fireworks they sell very carefully from a total of eight suppliers. Standard, Black Cat, Kimbolton, Men Shun, Fireworks International, Sandling, Vulcan (Inter Oriental) as well as their own Lunig brand. After extensive testing only the best fireworks from each supplier are chosen. In recent years Jordans have become an outlet for manufacturers' cancelled orders and end of production lines. The same stringent buying policy applies to these special offer items but it is now possible to purchase top quality items at vastly reduced prices.

David explains to a customer how to set up and fire the item.

A product knowledge second-to-none ensures that the best advice is given regarding the suitability of each firework for a particular situation. I was witness to David's superior product knowledge when a customer entered his shop. The customer's needs and requirements were explored in the greatest of detail and all aspects of safety were competently covered. The customer left Jordans with his newly acquired stash and with their own comprehensive Display Instructions Brochure ensuring another satisfied customer left with a smile on his face.

Jordans Provide a mail order service via their website, you can visit their retail showroom all year round, orders can also be reserved over the telephone: 14 high street, Leamington Spa CV31 3AN Tel: 01926 421330.

Many thanks to David for his hospitality, I had a great day chatting about fireworks and seeing behind the scenes.

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©2005 UK Firework Review. All rights reserved.