HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — If you are in the market for fireworks this fourth of July, you may notice prices, like the products, are skyrocketing.
If hearing that gives lights a fire under you, don’t worry. We have an explanation that may help defuse your mood.
“It’s a domino effect from the top down,” stated Mark Bradford, the owner of Five Star Fireworks, which operates 13 fireworks stalls in Arkansas.
For the past two years, he says the fireworks market has been nothing short of explosive. Five Star Fireworks used to sell a pack of bottle rockets for $3. Now they are $7 to $9.
“This is my 31st year in the industry. This is an unprecedented time,” Bradford admitted.
As patriotic as an Independence Day fireworks show is, these explosives are not made in America. They are manufactured in China, and Bradford stated Coronavirus outbreaks forced some firework factories to temporarily stop production. That lowers the supply and drives up prices but another factor is the cost of shipping.
“They were supposed to be here in March, and we got them in June. So big delay,” Bradford’s brother-in-law, Lonnie Gillie explained as he manned a stand-in Hot Springs Wednesday.
Lonnie Gillie says usually the biggest impact on profits is the weather if conditions are too dry, but the cost of importing one container across the Pacific to his stalls has more than tripled what he’s used to, from $10,000 dollars to now $35,000 for one 40ft container, and Five Star Fireworks orders 20 containers every time they order.
His business still plans to make a profit, but its profit margins won’t be as great this year.
“I think everyone wants to celebrate, but they may buy fewer than they usually do,” Gillie fears.
Customers were still coming in steadily through Wednesday though. They say they’d rather think of the memories than the cost of what’s meant to only last a moment.
Josiah Lewis lives in Hot Springs and said, “Memories are priceless. They don’t cost anything.”