TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — As the Fourth of July approaches, firework stores across the state are struggling to keep supplies in stock. Issues such as shipping costs and manufacturing have restricted firework options for shoppers this year.
Firework stores in Indiana saw one of their best sales years to date in 2020, with some stores selling out of product entirely. Though not deemed critical, officials with the Indiana Fireworks Association said this shortage may lost longer than just 2021.
Phil’s Phireworks in Terre Haute has maintained its inventory, but owner Justin Phillips said it comes at a price.
“It’s been tough with shipping cots, it doesn’t get you any more fireworks,” he said. “All it does is increase the cost, it more or less doubled compared to last year. It’s been tough, but you have to eat that cost as an owner if you want to keep your customer base.”
Indiana Fireworks Association executive director Steve Graves said while manufacturing overseas has decreased, product delivery has been a critical component of the shortage.
“China had some setbacks with COVID-19, but they got products here,” he said. “Now it’s our fault, they’re not getting the ports open. They’re not getting enough works to unload those shipments. Ships are sitting out in the ocean waiting days and days. Sometimes there aren’t enough workers to put shipments on the rails.”
Graves said the result has been a firework price increase of 25-30% and stores seeing delayed deliveries. He added that shortages are more evident due to some firework stores operating seasonally.
“This is impacting every industry in the United States,” he said. “Shipping is critical, there are shortages everywhere. We’re more acute because we only have them coming in at a certain time of the year.”
Dean’s Party Mania manager Abby McGrath said the store has seen an increase in shipping costs, but has also been able to remain fully stocked so far.
“Things that we couldn’t get in from past years we were able to replace them,” she said. “We do have a lot of new stuff for the season, that you haven’t seen before. There will still be some favorites out there.”