Following on from our interviews with leading businesses and people in Crewe we interviewed John Malam Managing Director of Blitz Fireworks.
Blitz Fireworks, based in Crewe, are one of the UK’s leading suppliers of retail fireworks and professional firework display operators. They provide the north west’s largest range of online fireworks including Barrages, firework cakes, Rockets, Roman Candles , Sparklers, Catherine Wheels, Fountains and much much more as we’ll find out.
What did you do before setting up Blitz Fireworks?
JM “I’ve lived in Crewe all my life and the day I left Ludford Street School I was walking past Broomhalls the butchers on West street and being a confident young man managed to get myself a job the same day. I then moved on to Crewe Works with a job cleaning the toilets, as you can imagine with the size of the workforce in those days it was a big job. Two of us decided to transform the toilets and spent weeks with acid cleaning the urinals until they were finally gleaming like new. This was when I learned the risks of doing a job too well, the lads were very impressed and word got back to the team leaders, foremen and managers on the great job I’d done. This made it hard to move on to anything else for a long time!
I did eventually manage to change jobs within the Works….. helped by taking a week off sick to go and put myself through my HGV test, and then drove for them until I was 27. Then I landed my best paying job at KwikSave in Winsford, working on the bin cart making £217 per week, again I grafted and was moved up to transport manager.
Fireworks started as a hobby and I kept pestering my business partner Alan that we should go into business, and at the end of saw few drinks one night he agreed. He still blames me now. Since then It’s just grown and grown and grown.”
Is it just fireworks that you’re involved with?
JM “No, we supply a full range of equipment to various events across the UK. Anything from crowd control barriers, heras security fence panels, generators up to 45kva, marquees, Santa’s grotto’s, event catering, mobile stage truck, large outdoor PA systems, to searchlights and much more
We also provide free training for the UK Firefighters Charity to enable them to run their own displays. The charity puts on their own displays at schools and in their local communities. If we can just help them learn one thing then it’s worthwhile ….. and we do the training for free.
What’s your role in the business?
Managing Director, engaging with new and existing clients, emails, telephone calls and event organising to name but a few responsibilities. Travel to events, liaise with all the suppliers, there’s real variety in what I do and every day is different.
How many people work for Blitz?
JM “Just 4 staff and 30 enthusiasts who use it as a hobby; well they love to blow things up in their spare time, where else would you get to use fireworks on the scale that we do at no cost?”
You’re well known for amazing firework displays, what else do Blitz get involved with?
JM “As an example over the summer last year we supplied infrastructure to the Nantwich Show, The Nantwich Food Festival and Wilmslow Show. We supplied outdoor catering to the Firework Champions events at 5 stately homes across the UK, we took part in the Fireworks Champions competition and came 1st. We’re always busy ordering large quantities of stock from our suppliers and importing stock from abroad.”
Do you work mainly in the Crewe area?
No not at all, we work all over the UK, from the south coast, up to Scotland.
You’re getting a name as one of the UK’s leading Fireworks companies, tell us a little about your run of award wins.
We have had a run of competition wins including winning the British championships at Plymouth in August 2014 and successive wins at the firework champions events in 2014 and 2015. We were extremely proud to have been the subject of the BBC program in 2014 called The Big Bang which followed us for several weeks through our win at Belvoir Castle and the BFC at Plymouth just 3 days later.
Obviously fireworks are very specialist, do you work with any local suppliers in the Crewe area?
There are no local suppliers of products in the firework industry that we can use, but we do use local companies to carry out work for us and some examples are The Sign Studio who design our artwork for signs and business stationary, Willow Video who film our events and produce small promo videos of what we do, Delmar Press who print event notices and stationary and PET Hire who we hire equipment off to name but a few. We supply many local organisations that we’ve already discussed and we’re keen to do our best for local events and organisations.
We shop local whenever possible and we work hard to supply equipment to local events as cost effective as possible as we seek to support events and activities in our hometown.
You can find out more about Blitz Fireworks here www.blitzfireworks.com
Watch the video clip from the BBC Documentary The Big Bang with their winning entry in the 2014 Fireworks championships.