Could a fireworks shortage affect July 4th celebrations? Phantom Fireworks urges customers to shop early

Another possible shortage might mean the sky isn’t as bright this Independence Day.

Weeks ahead of July 4th festivities, Phantom Fireworks, the nation’s largest consumer-based retail fireworks company, is urging customers to shop early as the industry faces a potential shortage for the second year in a row.

Sales of fireworks boomed in 2020 as more families opted to put on their own shows amid the COVID-19 pandemic after cities across the nation canceled public displays.

This year, Ohio-based Phantom Fireworks, which has approximately 80 stores throughout the U.S. and supplies thousands of retailers nationwide, says it has extended store hours and brought in additional staff to sell their backyard firecrackers to.

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“Like many other industries, the fireworks industry has also experienced delays due to shipment challenges facing the global market,” Alan Zoldan, Phantom executive vice president, said in a statement. “The good news is that we prepared early in anticipation of high demand again this year, and are encouraging Phantom customers to do the same.”

Phantom says supply chains face slower turnaround times due to lagging global shipments.

Last year, personal fireworks sales surged to record highs nationally. Many communities canceled or postponed public fireworks displays at the height of the pandemic, and sporting events and amusement parks weren’t filling the void. 

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Public fireworks displays to return

Many public fireworks displays are returning in 2021 but families are still celebrating at home.

President Joe Biden is encouraging nationwide celebrations to mark the country’s effective return to normalcy after 16 months of coronavirus pandemic disruption. The Biden administration plans to host a blowout cookout for first responders, essential workers, military members and their families on the South Lawn of the White House. 

As COVID-19 case rates and deaths drop to levels not seen since the first days of the outbreak, travel picks up and schools and businesses reopen, Biden is proclaiming “a summer of freedom” to celebrate Americans resuming their pre-pandemic lives. 

The Walt Disney Company announced Tuesday that nightly fireworks performances will come back to Walt Disney World in Orlando July 1 and at Disneyland in California July 4.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is offering up some do's and don'ts on firework safety ahead of July 4th.

USA TODAY

Shop for fireworks early

A-Rocket Fireworks in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, is prepared well, too, relying on a wide number of suppliers.

“We’re fully stocked,” A-Rocket owner Chelle Unis said. “We’ve got mortars, firecrackers, 500-gram finales, bottle rockets, sprinklers. Everyone can find something they want.”

A-Rocket is open year-round, though “in mid-June, right about now, it starts to get busy,” Unis said. “In July, we’ll be packed.”

In 2020, Phantom President Bruce Zoldan said in an interview with USA TODAY that July 3 and the holiday are historically the busiest days of the year for Phantom and competitors.

Contributing: Associated Press

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko. For more shopping tips and deals, join us on our Shopping Ninjas Facebook group. 

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