While there seems to be plenty of firework tents around the county, customers are going to find a short supply of fireworks and possible higher prices.
Last year was a bumper year for firework sales because people were ready to get out and celebrate the 4th of July with family and friends, causing firework sales to skyrocket. Most retailers had no inventory left over at the end of the sales period.
According to one distributor, extreme congestion at the port of Shanghai, Port of LA and the port of Beihai caused these ports to be closed to firework shipments causing massive delays in shipping.
In addition, current freight rates per container have gone up $6,000 to $8,000 over last year’s rates. This coupled with U.S. demand for all types of goods has caused the increased cost of shipping.
Jody McDowell — an independent retailer and part owner of Bad Boys Fireworks, attributed last year’s record year for fireworks sales to the beautiful weather on the 4th of July, the holiday being on a Saturday, and people starting to come out of lock down. According to McDowell, not only did the retailers sell out but all the distributors were wiped out.
Even though he started ordering his supply of fireworks early, he has only been able to get one third the amount of fireworks he had last year.
McDowell said, “If you drove by our tent, you would think we had a tent full. We usually restock two times after the initial set up, but this year when it’s sold, we’re done.”
A distributor that McDowell uses called him and offered him $2,000 worth of fireworks. He and his partner Joey Rush did not hesitate to rent a U-Haul last week, and drive to Florence, Ala. to pick up the additional inventory.
Retailers around the county are experiencing low inventories. TNT Fireworks of Gallatin owner Jamie Eden said what she has in her tent is what she will have and does not expect to be restocked. TNT sends the inventory to her and sets the prices. She does not use other distributors.
McDowell said, “I’ve been telling people, if they plan to buy fireworks, don’t wait. I predict that by the 4th, every tent will be done.”