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Fireworks shortage means fewer options, higher prices for Fourth of July

Superior Fireworks says they've been keeping prices down for customers, but costs have increased industry wide.

ORANGE PARK, Fla. — Fireworks will light up the sky on the Fourth of July, but just like everything else this past year, pandemic logistics have caused supply shortages.

Fireworks shops on the First Coast say this could mean fewer options and potentially higher prices for customers. 

Despite challenges stocking the shelves, Josh Pappas with Superior Fireworks says you will get fireworks, but maybe not the same ones you’ve always picked out.

“This is the first time we’ve experienced this," Pappas said. He and his brother have been in the fireworks business for 20 years.

He says their problems trace back to shipping capacity.

“Not having enough containers to load things on to in China, not enough boats to load things over here in the US, not enough capacity at the ports," Pappas explained. "Not enough rail capacity (or) trucking capacity. At every point in the process, we’ve been seeing cost increases and delays and it’s really impacted being able to have full shelves here this season.”

You may pay more this year for fireworks. It’s simple: supply vs demand. 

He says inventory is down by 30 percent industry-wide. 

"Sitting out in your backyard and shooting fireworks, there is nothing really quite like it," said Pappas. You'll still be able to do that this year, but he says some of their stock will be coming in too late for the 4th. 

“It’s been unique for the industry as a whole," explained Pappas. "Really you are seeing it in other parts of the economy too because the whole world is opening back up after COVID and retailers are trying to get products on their shelves. Everybody is hitting the import side all at once and it’s just clogging everything up.”

He says you may want to shop for fireworks before July 3 or 4 to try to get what you want. By the weekend, the fireworks shops and tents will be packed with people.

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