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Fireworks Shortage Has Stores Warning Customers To 'Buy Early' Ahead Of July 4th

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- As we look ahead to our first summer holiday this weekend, it's the Fourth of July fireworks distributors say you should start shopping for now.

WCCO shares the supply and demand concerns that could play a part in your plans.

The interstate stores are a staple of western Wisconsin. But in Baldwin, some of Fireworks City shelves' are looking more like the hand sanitizer aisle from months gone by. Cele Rasmussen is Fireworks City's co-owner.

"Buy early because stock is short," Rasmussen said.

He has been in the fireworks business for the last 23 years, and he's never seen anything like this.

"I'd say we're short by about 30%," he said.

Fireworks Generic
(credit: CBS)

Rasmussen looks back on last summer where no large fireworks shows were planned due to the pandemic, meaning bigger backyard celebrations. Now, it's production delays in China from shutdowns that his staff already saw coming last fall.

"So we've been trying to work on it all winter," Rasmussen said.

Seven of his shipping containers are still stuck overseas, and it's costing much more to get them here.

"There's gonna be an increase in prices just because shipping has doubled since last year," he said.

In some cases, communities don't want to cover the price hike. Stillwater Mayor Ted Kozlowski told WCCO his city will still have a big party on the Fourth, just without pyrotechnics. They'll also plan to shoot off some fireworks later in August for a different celebration.

Rasmussen says it's the assortment and novelty packs, the fountains and artillery shells that are in short supply.

Several vendors say to expect a 10% to 20% price increase on some fireworks this year.

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