18 LONGISLANDPRESS.COM • JULY 2018
By WARREN STRUGATCH
On July 4, Christopher Grucci
planned to be up in Boston working.
When you’re a Grucci, working on
the 4th means painting the night sky
above a major city with rocket-fueled
explosions as thousands ooh and ah.
A pyrotechnician trained – like all
members of the Grucci extended fireworks
family – by his dad, uncles and
older cousins, Christopher bounces
around the Charles River job site
making sure all needed supplies are
accounted for, and that all coworkers
“If something’s missing, I hop in the
car and go get it,” says Christopher.
Welcome to Independence Day,
Grucci-style. One of 47 gigs the family
has booked for July 4, 2018, Boston
has enjoyed pride of place with the
family since the Gruccis celebrated
the nation’s Bicentennial in Beantown
two generations ago to a soundtrack
provided by Arthur Fiedler and the
Boston Pops. These days, Deborah
Grucci, Christopher’s mom, stakes
out a private view of the proceedings
from a nearby high-rise while dad –
that’s Phil Grucci, fifth generation
CEO – stays closer to the ground.
“When the show starts,” he says,
“the Esplanade is lined with people.
They put the flags out and the whole
environment is electrifying.”
He allows a grin.
“I admit it,” he says. “I like patriotic
It’s a natural preference for a
man whose business is celebrating
America’s birthday and big holidays.
Increasingly that business has
expanded to helping the rest of the
world celebrate everything from
casino openings to Persian Gulf commercial
July 4th has spread out to cover the
entire seventh month of the year.
The largesse reflects the preference
of municipal governments,
country clubs and nonprofit organizations
– the Big 3 of the fireworks
customer base – to commission
holiday celebrations in the weeks
following Independence Day as well
as during the holiday itself. This year,
Grucci will hold 28 performances on
Long Island alone in July.
And that’s leaving out the growth
in Christmas season fireworks
For the Bellport-based company,
which began in Italy in the mid-19th
century, the bulk of revenue growth
in fact comes from sales overseas.
Since taking over as chief executive
five years ago, Phil Grucci has emphasized
export sales, targeting Asia and
the Gulf States.
Fireworks by Grucci produces
about 250 shows annually: around
50 internationally, another 200
produced in the U.S. While domestic
engagements are still their mainstay,
export growth continues to outpace
domestic sales. The company’s overseas
shows are generally larger and
flashier than their U.S. productions,
reflecting customer preferences
overseas. Gulf states especially demand
the spectaculars, which play to
Over the past decade, Grucci has
handled such global commissions as
the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in
Beijing and the grand opening of the
Palm Jumeirah and Atlantis Resort in
Dubai. They staged the fireworks at
the 2012 World’s Fair in Yeosu, South
Korea. On New Year’s Eve 2013, the
Gruccis lit nearly half a million fireworks
above Dubai’s skyline, setting
a new world record. In the United
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Grucci launched the largest aerial firework shell in history, a 5-foot-diameter projectile weighing more than 2,400 pounds, earlier this year.
With nearly 170 years of pyrotechnic
success, the Gruccis are
Bellport’s most famous family.