NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — With the Fourth of July holiday just a week away, fireworks enthusiasts are busy looking for all the materials they need to put on a show, but those materials are in short supply.
The industry has warned that supply ahead of the holiday will be down about 30 percent this year due to supply chain issues, according to NBC News.
"Do you remember toilet paper last year?" Robert Workman, owner of Wildcat Fireworks in Nicholasville, rhetorically asked. "Fireworks are the new toilet paper."
Similar to the shortage of toilet paper in the spring of 2020, the shortage of fireworks has been a side effect of the pandemic.
Industry insiders have advised people to buy fireworks early because the pandemic has caused shipping challenges and delays from China, where Workman and many other owners order their supplies.
"It used to take 30 days to get a boat over from China and get it unloaded," Workman said. "Now it takes 60 to 90 plus days to get the same goods over here."
LEX 18 caught up with Workman late Sunday afternoon, after a particularly busy rush on his tent.
"I'm pretty sure every tent sold out last year," he said. "I think this year's going to be the same."
According to NBC News, record-breaking sales in the country approached nearly $2 billion last year.
"People just want to have some fun," Workman said. "They've been cooped up in their homes. Especially this year, they're ready to get out and get together and have some fun with their family and friends."
The shifting dynamics in the supply and demand for fireworks have, in some cases, translated to higher prices for consumers.
"Some of the things I ordered later were about 30 percent more expensive than last year," Workman said, although he maintained that he has made only modest increases to the prices of his goods.
Although the calendar has not yet turned to July, fireworks owners and enthusiasts are keeping an eye on 2022.
"I'm already working on next year's order," Workman said. "I probably started two weeks ago just to get the ball rolling and make sure that we're covered and hopefully beat any extra additional price increases that may come in the future."