Expect to pay more for fireworks this year as demand outweighs supply

Independence Day is right around the corner and those in the fireworks business are already having a hard time keeping up with the demand for the celebration. 

Washingtonians can get their hands on fireworks starting June 28, but this year, retailers aren’t as stocked up as they normally are, all thanks to the pandemic.

Joel Cowart, owner of Pyroland Firework, a wholesale and retail business in Sumner, told Q13 News this year is more complicated than years past. 2020 was a great year for those who sold fireworks. Because so many major firework shows were canceled across the country, people bought their own who otherwise wouldn’t.

"People told us this was the first time they’ve bought fireworks in five years," Cowart said. "Our sales were better in 2020 than in 2019."

Cowart said because sales boomed in 2020, all fireworks industries across the United States have been trying to reload their inventory levels back to what would be normal. He also said that prices to get the products have doubled because of the demand and that China has also changed its regulations, which made it hard to get as much fireworks shipped.

"A container last year used to cost me $11,500 in ocean freight, we’re now paying $24,600 for that same space on their boat." Said Cowart.

Cowart said the businesses that he sells the fireworks to are desperate this year.

RELATED: King County Council approves fireworks ban in unincorporated areas starting in 2022

"We’ve had people from out of state who usually have fireworks that have no inventory that are on the phone crying trying to get cases for their business." 

So what does this mean for someone in the market to buy fireworks? Less to choose from and more out of your pocket. Cowart said you can expect to pay more for your favorite fireworks.

"Inventory shortages aren’t fun for the people that make the product because we really want to sell it to everybody and have as much as everyone can take," said Cowart. "It would be like owning a restaurant but only getting to sell two of your favorite dishes."

Cowart’s advice to anyone who wants to purchase fireworks this year is to buy on June 28, the first day you can legally buy it. 

He said there is less inventory and more demand so your favorite fireworks will go fast.

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