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Kansas City-area fireworks stand owners encourage early shopping amid shortage

Fireworks tent
Posted at 5:27 PM, Jun 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-29 19:19:24-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — People are excited to shoot off their own fireworks, according to firework stand owners, since many of the big city displays were cancelled for the second straight year.

"It's wild. Fireworks were wild last year and they're even more wild this year," Amy Ritter, owner of Honest John's Fireworks in Riverside, said.

Products are flying off the shelves, which, according to Ritter, is great for business also has a downside.

"We are experiencing a major shortage in the industry," she said, "and especially in Kansas City, a lot of our wholesale dealers are out, so we're at very limited supply."

Supply chain and manufacturing hold-ups are causing this shortage. The majority of the U.S.'s fireworks come from China. A lot of product is still waiting in crates to be shipped across the world.

Ritter said normally they'd be able to reorder closer to the Fourth of July, but that's not possible this year.

It's the same in Kansas City, Kansas. The owners of Dotte Fireworks, located at North 38th Street and State Avenue, said they had to work hard to fill their tent this year.

"We wanted to get all our product from one particular vendor in the area and we ended up reaching out to people as far away as Hannibal, Missouri; Lincoln, Nebraska and Tulsa, Oklahoma," owner Gail Vertz said.

Vertz said she ordered 25 cases of smoke balls, but only receive 10. She ordered 10 cases of punks but received two.

A lot of bigger-ticket items will sell for more this year. The large, 500-gram packs of fireworks range from $699 to $1,100, depending on where they are purchased in the metro.

But, Vertz and Ritter said they'll sell out.

Their biggest piece of advice is to come early.

"We want them to come, we want them to be excited," Vertz said. "Especially after we've all been dealing with COVID. But don't wait til the third or the fourth."

That way, they said, patrons still will be able to purchase popular items like smoke balls, snakes, snappers, artillery shells and fountains that were harder to come by.

Fireworks snappers

"I'm out of some people's favorites, like a specific multi-shot they really loved that I'd typically have 10 cases of, and I received one or two," Ritter said. "So we just have a new favorite."

Ritter said vendors have to be on top of ordering product to get what they want and order early.

They hope that next year's supply is better.