ORLANDO, Fla. - Industry experts are expecting a fireworks shortage for July 4th and are encouraging people to buy them now.
Phantom Fireworks Executive Vice President Alan Zoldan said, "Now is the most important time to get in and get the merchandise. We're… very concerned about the last week or 10 days [leading up to July 4th] and maintaining enough inventory to have for the people."
Zoldan said fireworks sales have been booming since May 2020, citing that " was the biggest year in our history by a significant margin."
The company, which has stores and showrooms across 17 states, is opening a new location at 2110 W. Colonial Drive in Orlando in time for 4th of July.
"What happened was, because everybody was home and not really able to spend their money elsewhere. They purchased a lot of fireworks," Zoldan said.
To prepare for 2021, Zoldan said Phantom Fireworks ordered 1,600 containers worth of fireworks from China, its largest order ever. However, 30 to 35 percent of the order did not ship. Zoldan said everyone in the consumer retail fireworks industry is dealing with the same issue.
"Consumers in the United States were buying just about everything you could think of from Walmart, Target, and all the major retailers, so the space on the outbound containers really got tight," Zoldan said.
The national worker shortage is slowing things down too. He predicts there will be fewer fireworks stands this year, product shortages on key products, and price increases up to 40 percent.
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"There is a tremendous amount [of shipments] that are just spread out along the logistics chain between Asia and the United States, on the ocean, at the Port of Long Beach in Los Angeles, and then on the rail systems is just extremely slow due to having lack of labor, lack of the facilities and the machinery, the chassis is to go ahead and move the product," Zoldan added.
Zoldan said Phantom Fireworks has had to change and cut back on some promotions like its across-the-board "buy one, get two free" promotion.
"We were just looking at it, trying to be able to support the fact that we know that we want to maintain some inventory level and have it, as it comes in," he explained.
Zoldan predicts there will still be shipping issues for New Year’s Eve but is hoping to receive enough inventory over the summer and fall to prevent shortages in December.
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