AUSTIN (KXAN) — Fireworks are now for sale in Central Texas before the Fourth of July weekend, but you may find higher prices and a limited selection as you rush out for those pyrotechnics.
A firework shortage is the latest supply chain issue to fizzle out of the pandemic. One of the largest fireworks retailers in Central Texas, American Fireworks, is feeling the side effects.
“You would think after 50 years, I’d learn how to do this,” said Chester Davis, Owner of American Fireworks.
Davis owns and operates 165 fireworks stands and 13 box stores across Central Texas. He says the lack of fireworks is out of his control.
“Little by little, we get a container here and there,” said Davis. “It’s coming on, but slow. We’re working through it.”
Poppers, Roman candles and reloadable fireworks are all coming in from China. Davis say he orders fireworks a year in advance and is still waiting on fireworks to come in that he ordered a year ago.
“You wouldn’t believe…sparklers. We’re having one heck of a time getting some sparklers in here,” said Davis.
His shelves are stocked for now, but that may not be the case by the time the Fourth of July rolls around.
“This is a systemic problem,” University of Texas Supply Chain Professor Mary Ann Anderson said.
Anderson is an expert in supply chain management. While the purchase of goods skyrocketed during the pandemic, the need for plastics and shipping containers did, as well.
“Most of our goods are imported in from China, and China has a backlog at the ports of products they need,” said Anderson.
Plus, not every cargo ship is capable of carrying the explosive devices. Anderson says unfortunately your Fourth of July festivities aren’t the priority at the ports.
“They’re lining up at the port and they’re going priority based,” said Anderson.
If you plan on spelling your name out with sparklers this year, then Davis recommends getting to the stands early.
“We’re going to try our best to have supply on the Fourth of July,” Davis said.