Four Generations of Fireworks
The words “Schneitter” and “fireworks” are nearly synonymous in this part of the state. For nearly 120 years, Schneitter Fireworks has been proud to provide fun and excitement to countless events in Northwest Missouri.
Schneitter Fireworks is a family owned business started in 1895 by a strong man with an entrepreneurial spirit. After opening and operating other businesses, such as Schneitter Lumber, Schneitter Sporting Goods, and Schneitter Radio Company, H.E. Schneitter fell upon something that would change the face of fireworks forever in St. Joseph and the surrounding communities. He began receiving samples of fireworks along with his shipments of sporting goods. Not a man to waste an opportunity, he began selling them out of the back of his car. They sold faster than he could get them. The business grew so rapidly, he decided to close his radio and sporting good companies and to sell the lumberyard. He opened the original Schneitter Fireworks warehouse in historic downtown St. Joseph. Now and forevermore, he would dedicate his life to this one business.
H.E. Schneitter passed away in 1965 leaving the lucrative business to his son H.E. (Ed) Schneittter, Jr. Ed and his wife Mary took the business to the next level by becoming intricately involved in the fireworks business. To them, it wasn’t just a job…it defined how they lived and what they did. They took trips to China regularly to ensure the quality of the product. They began to involve their son, Richard, in the process and continued to import the best quality 1.3g and 1.4g fireworks on the market.
As years went by, Schneitter Fireworks continued to import the best quality brands at the lowest price possible. But perhaps most importantly, Ed and Richard were passionate about the safety and legality of the products they provided. Their customers were their number one priority – and it showed. Second only to the relationship with their customers was that with their suppliers. In fact, one of the suppliers with whom they had a strong partnership, the Po Sing Firecracker Factory, created firecrackers specifically for Ed and Richard. The label bore the name “Peacock” and, if you are lucky to find any of these today, they are extremely rare and collectible. Still another firecracker was created and imported specifically for Schneitters. The Devil Dog Firecracker is a Schneitter original and they, too, are now very rare. Schneitter Fireworks still carries many of the same brands from the Chinese suppliers with whom Ed and Richard established relationships years ago.
As business continued to boom under the careful management of father and son, Schneitter Fireworks moved to a much larger location off of I-29 highway. The new space was procured in 1994 and the much-needed space was filled with fireworks in time for the fireworks season.
In March of 2003, Richard passed away and Ed was forced to carry on the business without his son. Richard’s wife, Judith, and daughters, Stacy and Tracy, worked for Ed in the office. They paid close attention and began to learn the fireworks business, inside and out.
Just one year later, in February of 2004, H.E. (Ed) Schneitter passed away. Since that time, Judy, Stacy, and Tracy, along with the help of longtime Schneitter Fireworks employee, Susan Reeves, have taken the reins and continue to import 1.3g and 1.4g fireworks for their customers. Susan has been with the company for over 30 years and has been instrumental in teaching Stacy and Tracy the ins and outs of the fireworks business.
As any successful business must do, Schneitter Fireworks is evolving into a new realm of marketing unlike any other known up until this time. You can find the Schneitters on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. They have also begun new traditions, taking charge and making the company theirs. They have established many relationships with new customers, conducting demonstrations every year to show off the newest and best products for the coming season. This commitment to move forward is a trait shared by all of the Schneitters and one you can count on in the generations to come.
Schneitter Fireworks has been a staple in the fireworks industry for four generations and Stacy and Tracy do not take that lightly. They understand full well the legacy that has been handed them and they work diligently to keep the dreams of their father and grandfather alive and well. As with any story worth telling, the history of Schneitter Fireworks, and the family it represents, is peppered with sorrow amidst joy. But herein lies the core of the American spirit. Hard work. An entrepreneurial spirit. Perseverance. Honesty. The patriotic spirit that embodies Independence Day is not lost on this family. Rather, it’s the very essence of their business and part of the heritage they are so proud to carry on from generation to generation.