Fireworks stores fight supply-chain hold-ups, struggle to meet demand

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A fireworks shortage across the country leaving local stores empty and searching for supply in other states.

It’s that time of the year again. But your favorite fireworks, may not be available.

“Our shelves are bare at times," Michael Carlo, the Manager at Worlds Cheapest Fireworks in Osceola said.

Empty tables.... and sold-out shelves.

“It’s definitely a lot less," Brian Hall 2nd, one customer said.

“It looked like the day of 4th of July instead of a week, a couple of weeks before," Brian Hall, another customer said.

It’s normally a good thing for fireworks stores.

"Sales have been good. People have been coming in buying more than they did last year at this time," Carlo said

But being out of stock this early in the season isn’t just because demand is high.

The Manager of Worlds Cheapest Fireworks in Osceola said the effects of the pandemic are still being felt a year later.

"China was down almost a year, year and a half so their companies down there weren’t making product. Once they started making products again, they had to catch up and they still haven’t caught up," Carlo said.

And when the shipments do arrive in the U.S, Carlo says they have to quarantine for 14 days. Once they do get to port, it’s getting the shipments to distributors that is the biggest issue.

“We have had to go to places and pick it up ourselves at our distributors because they don’t have drivers to bring it to us," he said.

Tana: How far have you had to go?

“We’ve been as far as 150 miles," he said.

“Both of my suppliers have sparklers stuck in china right now reloadable's which are these big things over here are scarce too – a lot of them are stuck in California," Lucas Magaldi, the owner of Extreme Fireworks said.

"They have containers sitting all over the United States, they are waiting just to get them. There is a very big possibility that they’re not going to get containers until after the 4th of July," Carlo said.

Fireworks stores all over – now struggling to stock shelves and keep customers happy, especially with a rise in prices.

“There’s actually been a 30% or more hike in the prices for both the wholesalers," Magaldi said.

"You know it costs a little more, last year it was $6 this year it’s $8," Hall said. "Enough for kids to say 'ooh' – that’s good enough for me.”

Fireworks like sparklers, snap pops and small fountains are in short supply.

Carlo said they expect to be sold out before July 4th, so make sure to buy fireworks early this year especially if you want a certain type.

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