National shortage hinders firework sales
Some would think that firework and sound ordinances within local municipalities would hurt the local firework tents and businesses but the reality for most businesses this year is that shipping delays and lack of supply is more of a hindrance, but still manageable.
“There is a national shortage of fireworks,” said Joe VanOudenhove, managing partner of Sky King. “The industry is about 30 percent short.”
He added that the reasoning for the national shortage comes from across the world shipping issues, and that these issues aren’t just happening for the firework industry but also other goods industries like wood.
“We are a seasonal business so we are more sensitive to shipping issues,” he said. “People are trying to shop early and take advantage of the specials we have.”
So far, sales for the fireworks seem to be going “normal” but according to David Steele firework tent operator outside of the Montoursville Walmart, the sales are nothing like last year.
He added that last year’s sales were “record topping” and “remarkable”.
He said that with people being isolated in quarantine on top of many firework shows being cancelled, it was a “perfect storm” for firework sales.
Both VanOudenhove and Steele, as well as two tent operators outside of the Staples on West Third Street, all agreed that fireworks will definitely sell out this season because of the shipping delays.
Sky King stores not only offer the ground level fireworks that local tents sell, but also have the class C aerial fireworks available for purchase. VanOudenhove said that the stores all have a check in and agreements that purchasing customers have to sign acknowledging that they will abide by the noise and firework regulations where they plan on setting them off.
“They are required to check-in upon entry,” he said. “We have customers that are from PA, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Maryland and Delaware…We respect and encourage them to follow these rules that are set forth by the municipality.”
He added that the Sky King stores also provide educational materials such as videos on how to properly and safely set off the fireworks that they are purchasing.
Steele said that local tents are “typically not affected” by municipality ordinances as the tents do not sell class C aerial fireworks.