JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Following a year of skyrocketing demand for fireworks amid the COVID-19 pandemic, retailers nationwide are facing a shortage as the Fourth of July holiday nears.
That shortage is causing people like Rafael Martinez to buy his fireworks early. He came all the way to Superior Fireworks in Orange Park from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. That’s 840 miles.
“I spent about 23-hundred bucks,” Martinez said.
He plans to sell the fireworks back home.
“I’ve got a little business in Pennsylvania and I decided to take the ride, and honestly it was like a little road trip for me and my wife,” Martinez said.
Superior Fireworks is seeing many local people come in and buy too.
“You’re seeing shortages -- 30 to 40 percent are the numbers we are hearing nationwide,” said Josh Pappas, with Superior Fireworks.
Pappas said the shortage is in part due to transportation challenges.
“Global shipping is under a lot of pressure right now, and it’s not been possible for us as an industry to get all of our product over here,” Pappas said.
Steve Houser, the president for the National Fireworks Association, told KOLD News 13 that shipping costs, ports backed up for shipping and a surge in demand are all factors.
Last year, Gov. DeSantis signed Senate Bill 140, which provides and exemption for the use of fireworks solely and exclusively during a designated holiday. Those holidays include New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and the Fourth of July.