Friday, July 1, 2016

The Manic Free-For-All That Is BOOMLAND in Charleston, Missouri.

Figurines. Ham. Candles. Roman Candles. Whether it's fudge or fragrance, blankets or truly bombtastic aerial explosions, Boomland serves it up.

Grav talks about Boomland like it's some oasis amidst the long drives. He used to make the trip from Fort Smith to Chicago on a regular basis and became familiar with both of the southeast Missouri stores - the one on I-55 and the one on I-57 (a third store is located in Dexter, Missouri).  In our travels, we have encountered the Benton location a few times. This go-round, I ended up dropping in at the Charleston location on my way home from Hendricks County, Indiana.

I had to use the facilities. The moment I entered, I was instantly overwhelmed.  I found my way from one end of the building to its middle and finally to the restrooms - some of the cleanest in Missouri, let me tell you - and I emerged to the cacaphony of sale items.

Here's a quick look at what I found.

Wally's is the restaurant at the eastern end of the building. These clothing racks with a variety
of flowy, sleeveless and animal printed items marked the way.

Few roadside convenience stores have to number their aisles. This one is more like a grocery store.

Hats, caps and blingy things stretched out another direction.

There's also a desk where you can purchase gas, cigarettes, lotto tickets and whatnot.  That hall to the center runs the entire length of the store.

And over the door...

Boomland is the proud purveyor of various hams.

You expect to find chips, jerkies and sunflower seeds in a convenience store, much like what's on the left in this photo. You don't usually find a complete like of herbs and spices, rubs, barbecue sauces and mustards.

Boomland has a ridiculous number of hot sauces available.

There's a whole section mid-store of country-style goods that make Cracker Barrel seem metropolitan.

Pickles? Yeah, pickles are perfectly normal.

Pickled vegetables are also not so unusual, even when it's things like green beans and carrots.

But two whole shelves of pickled eggs?

How about pickled sausages?

Or pickled bologna?

You'd expect to find t-shirts at a place like this, and Boomland delivers.

It also has the market cornered on glass pig figurines.

There are few scented candles that haven't found their way to Boomland.

I suspect the array of shades, rings, earrings and purses are aimed both at the female traveler and the truck driver or road weary businessman who needs a gift for good graces. 

But home decor items such as picture frames and hanging plant baskets falls directly into the realm of a vacationer's market.

And this little cutie? Well, maybe an eclectic gift.

But pimp cups?

Anyone need a plastic-coated Trilby? In red?

Perhaps a coon skin hat is more to your liking?

Boomland is where knicknacks come from these days, like state thimble and bells and tiny spoons.

There's a whole section of cedar creations, including these Bible boxes.

And of course, who doesn't need one of these? To be fair, the next handle over says "husband gitter."

Boomland is helping to supply the world with Aztec blankets

and those leather vests worn by motorcycle enthusiasts on their weekend jaunts.

There are even magnets from just about everywhere on an entire sheet metal wall.

But this has me stumped.  Are these stainless steel capsules actually portable urns?

If you've ever needed something written on your walls to read, Boomland has you cover.

It has one of the largest collection of animal-adorned drum dreamcatchers I've ever seen.

And can you really get more patriotic than an eagle and flowing waves lamp?

There are adorable elephants,

tacky camo-and-pink high heeled shoe chairs

and statues of contorted horses - would this be a cont-horse-shunist?

I'll believe all that belongs in my home when pigs fly.

This is where monogram flags come from.

Hummingbird feeders, too.

And all that strange yard art you see at Christmas? Blame Boomland.
But Boomland got its name not from the crazy items in the heart of its store, but for the massive, MASSIVE amount of fireworks it sells.  I mean, fireworks of every sort.

This is where you get those pretty fountains

and whimsically named sky munitions.

Rockets bear fireworks into the sky

and Roman candles spit their colored flames upward.

There are fireworks for just about every occasion you can think of,

for every segment of the audience

every political bent

every girl

and every boy.

The truly dizzying display of fireworks goes on for great lengths over several aisles on the west end of the store.

They come in boxes and on pallets.

They come with cool names

and sometimes baffling ones

for all price ranges and for all ages.

Boomland may finally be the true place where there's something for everyone. There were even locally grown watermelons waiting by the door for customers to grab them up.  Somehow, this fireworks stand become truck stop has ended up as a destination all its own.

If you'd like more information about Boomland, check out the website.

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