Grucci opened a 35,000-square-foot plant on 1,500 acres in the Radford Arsenal in the fall of 1997 with five employees, and has grown steadily since. Its most recently announced expansion will add 50 workers to a payroll of 111.
The economy has been hard on everyone, and Grucci is no exception. The company has experienced a mild downturn in the number of celebrations it is asked to plan, in no small part due to the chilling effects of terrorism. Still, the company´s 150 year history is not only based on entertainment, but also in building troop training devices such as mock mines and grenades.
When Phil Grucci´s great uncle moved to the U.S. from southern Italy during the Great Depression, he had to adapt his business to the times, which, according to Grucci, were "much like we see today."
Five generations later, however, the relationship the company has with defense has paid dividends. The plant in Virginia is a good fit, says Grucci. It doesn´t have to go to all the trouble of maintaining the kind of beefy security necessary for a fireworks plant, since the government´s security at the Arsenal is very tight.
The relationship is good for the government, too, since companies like Grucci pay a share to maintain that security, defraying the cost. Phil Grucci says "the company has a good relationship with Alliant Tech, the major Arsenal tenant, and the Army, especially Lieutenant Colonel Butler."
"We have a good workforce, too," says Grucci.
While there are over 200 fireworks companies in North America, few can list the impressive portfolio of events Grucci has been asked to illuminate. The company produced fireworks displays for the last six presidential inaugurations. This past June, the company was asked to produce an effect for the rededication of New York City´s Museum of Modern Art, and the result was a stunning 1,500-foot rainbow that arced across the East River, reaching from Manhattan, the museum´s previous location, to its new location in Queens.