Fourth of July weekend can turn dangerous if you're not safe around fireworks. One Sioux Falls family is cutting down on the risks involved thanks to an invention they've turned into a successful business.
Things are looking up for the Knopf family. After inventing a tube that helps shoot rockets in a more controlled setting, the product is starting to take off.
"If we can save one eye, one child getting burned, then it's all worth it," Knopf said.
Jeff Knopf says Safety Rocket Launcher got into local firework shops last year. Now, more than 150,000 have been sold across the country and the company is hitting the international market.
"The call for it was way beyond what we even anticipated," Knopf said. "This was something that should have been out years ago, so we went in full-line production."
While a simple idea, these tubes replace bottles and pop cans and make fireworks this holiday weekend a whole lot safer.
The Safety Rocket Launcher is made of a special type of plastic infused with chlorine and is self extinguishing. Pound it into the ground a few inches, point it in the right direction and you're ready to go. If you have a dud, the firework will either explode in the tube or land away from the group.
"It actually increases the sale on bottle rockets, whistlers and skyrockets as well because now mothers feel there's something a little bit safer that I can allow my children to shoot out of and still have the safety," Knopf said.
Knopf quit his day job to focus more on the business that started out of a small warehouse in east Sioux Falls. These days the tubes are produced in several plants in the United States and now China.
"We believe that this year we'll expand to millions. It will be millions of tubes going out. We're pretty excited about that and we're excited about these companies that have joined up with us because they realize that safety, going forward, is important to them as well," Knopf said.
The Safety Rocket Launcher sells for roughly $5 and comes in five different colors.