Firework sales to hit records, but retailers face shortage

Published: Jul. 2, 2021 at 6:33 PM CDT
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QUAD CITIES (KWQC) - Some local firework retailers are rushing to keep supply on the shelves during a firework shortage.

“Last year we broke every record and the industry broke every record there ever was in consumer firework sales and this year we are on pace to go above that a little bit, which we never expected,” says Justin Bartlett, manager at Crossroads Fireworks in Bettendorf.

With many official displays cancelled last year due to COVID-19, sales skyrocketed with people doing their own shows at home.

“There really weren’t many fun things to do except get your own fireworks,” Bartlett says.

He projects even higher sales for 2021, but this year faces a new challenge with a national firework shortage.

“A lot of it is because everybody sold so much last year and nobody had anything left so people were starting from zero. It’s been a chore, there’s a lot of things that didn’t make it in and it’s just been a battle,” says Bartlett.

Uncle Norm’s fireworks in Milan still has supply, but says it’s been a challenge to get fireworks from vendors.

“I have been in the fireworks industry for 37 years give or take and this is the first time I have seen this kind of shortage for the consumer fireworks,” says John Norris, owner of Uncle Norm’s.

“The wholesalers are basically out. But we are fortunate enough that we have been buying from the same vendors for 19 years so we have a good rapport with them,” says Norris.

Crossroads fireworks expects to be on pace to surpass 2020′s record sales.

“We are in the spot we wanted to be, but it took a lot of work to get here and it still may not be enough by the end of the day on Sunday,” says Bartlett.

Fireworks may be used legally in Davenport July 3rd and 4th until 11 p.m.

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