Big Bang: Skinny’s Fireworks celebrates 40 years
By Allison Flores
June of 2020 marks 40 years of business for Paul Janacek’s firework stand, Skinny’s Fireworks. The Yorktown native started the stand at 16 and has continued to supply the Yorktown area with fun fireworks for the holidays ever since.
“I just thought it would be a nice little thing to do just to be a little different,” said Janacek during an interview. “I only planned on doing it for a couple of years, and it just kept snowballing.”
“We started in June of 1980. I started by getting in touch a couple of [firework] companies–of course, back then, there was no Internet, so you had to write letters. I didn’t notice it until years later, but I was so excited the first year that I picked up my order a month and a half early.”
Taking a look back at Skinny’s Fireworks’ beginnings, Janacek noted that the name of the stand came to be by accident.
“Skinny–that was my nickname at home,” explained Janacek. “Mom and Dad worked for the DeWitt County View, and Mom was setting up my ad for the first time. She brought me the ad after it was printed, and I forgot to tell her that no one knows me as ‘Skinny’! Of course, now, the ironic part is that it’s a little joke to me. If I hear anyone call me ‘Skinny’, I know it’s someone from Yorktown.”
Starting out, the stand was a smaller building (a replica can be seen at Skinny’s Fireworks today), and every year since, Janacek has been changing it up, along with adding more and more products.
“Over the years, we just kept adding something,” said Janacek. “A buddy of mine said that everyone was always wondering ‘What’s Skinny’s doing this year?’ because every year it seemed like I was changing something, or adding something.”
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