Firework shortage causes prices to increase, less inventory for local vendors

Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 8:17 PM CDT
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GLASGOW, Ky. (WBKO) - The firework industry is yet another trade impacted by supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“California is just now opening up, the ports are backed up, the train stations are backed up, everything is backed up,” Terry Shank, the owner of Big T’s Fireworks in Glasgow said.

Shank has sold fireworks locally for nearly 25 years and said he has never experienced this much trouble getting his products. He ordered his fireworks back in December, and some still haven’t arrived.

“I started doing it early just so that I could get a handle on it,” he explained. “But people who didn’t order early are going to be shorted. I probably got 20% of fireworks I’m going to be short on.”

Last year, firework sales were booming across the board, and firework vendors are expecting this year to be the same way. Because the demand for fireworks is so high, but supplies are low, manufacturers are charging more to ship overseas.

“I kept getting notifications that shipping was going up, and it went from like $8,200 a container to $22,500 a container, and they started doing two to three thousand increments every couple weeks,” Shank said.

This means fireworks across the nation are expected to be more expensive than usual for average consumers. Shank said to try to shop local because a lot of times people from out of town are known for price gouging.

You do not want to wait until the last minute to buy fireworks either because once a vendor runs out, they will not be able to easily restock.

“I should have, you know, 80% of what I ordered, but unfortunately, we’re going to probably run out by the third or fourth,” Shank stated.

There should be enough fireworks to go around, but there may not be as much of a variety this year. “Like the big family packs, I have zero, none, not one because for some reason that was one of the items that were the last to ship so we haven’t received them,” Shank explained.

He encourages people to be patient with vendors like himself as it has taken a lot of work to get the fireworks delivered. “People think we just sit up here and just make money,” Shank said. “But this is a lot of preparation, a lot of hard work. And we only have a month to get it done.”

The disruptions in the firework supply chain could also impact larger, professional firework shows.

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