Kansas City area firework stores prepare for possible shortage this summer

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LONE JACK, Mo. — People who love stuff that blows up may need to hurry up.

Economists are forecasting a worldwide fireworks shortage, meaning the demand for summertime pyro will start earlier than usual, and some retailers may sell out. Prices for consumers are also expected to go up.

Staff members at Pyro City in Lone Jack are concerned they’ll see a repeat of 2020’s whopping sales, when the store sold out of everything.

Donna Nuccio, the store’s manager, said owners struggled to keep up with the demand because suppliers ran out of product and they couldn’t get more.

“What we’re fearful of is — I may not be here on the Fourth of July if I don’t have any product to sell,” Nuccio said on Tuesday.

Supplies in fireworks warehouses, including at least two in the Kansas City metro, are running low after fireworks makers in Asia struggled to recover from the largest single-year demand in consumer fireworks history. 

”The person who waits until July 2 might be pretty disappointed when they walk into the store,” Nuccio said.

Pyro distributors are also concerned. Mike Collar, president at Winco Fireworks in Grandview, said fireworks orders have nearly tripled and overseas shipping costs are problematic and expensive.

“This isn’t some sales gimmick, I promise you. There’s just not enough merchandise in the marketplace,” Collar said. We started bugging China last July 15 — start shipping. Start shipping.”

It all adds up to a forecasted uptick at the cash registers. Collar says he imagines heightened costs of 30% on some items — in retail stores and those roadside fireworks tents. Collar said he’s concerned some tents may not be able to open if they can’t get ample product.

“If you’re looking to buy, I’d recommend shopping early. Not only are you going to be eat the crowds, you’re going to be able to select the products you would buy early,” Nuccio added.

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