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Fireworks retailers gain permits from NR City Council

In its first meeting since adopting an ordinance allowing for the sale of high-powered fireworks in the community, the New Richmond City Council was faced with a challenging decision.

It's new ordinance allows for just two seller's permits in the city, but three applications had been received.

Gibby's Enterprises LLC applied for two separate seller's permits for locations at Gibby's Lanes (546 W. North Shore Drive) and another at 655 North Knowles Ave.

Joseph Morales, owner of the Hallmark store, applied for a permit to sell fireworks on an empty lot to the north of his current business.

Jamie Gibson, owner of Gibby's, said he didn't intend to apply for the two available licenses. But after applying for the first, and noticing that no one else had applied for the second, he considered opening a second location on an empty lot south of Super America.

Morales said he didn't apply for the license until after he completed his research of the matter. He has partnered with an established fireworks retailer who will provide his expertise as the new business gets started.

"I took my time looking this over," Morales said. "I've lived in New Richmond for 32 years. My reputation is on the line."

The council's student representative, Jocque Warner, questioned why the city would issue two licenses to one operator, thus setting up a monopoly.

Council member Kirk Van Blaircom suggested the city amend its new ordinance and issue the seller's permits to all three applicants.

But council member Roberta Dale-Wozniak said they should choose two sites this year and see how it goes during the upcoming fireworks sales season. She said the ordinance could always be changed in the future if more licenses wouldn't cause a problem.

The council voted to 6-0 to award the two permits to Morales and Gibson.

For the complete story, see this week's New Richmond News.