The Fourth of July is upon us, and fireworks retailers count on swarms of customers and explosive sales.
“The Fourth of July is the bread and butter of the industry,” said Julie Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association. The summertime holiday generally accounts for 75 to 85 percent of fireworks retailers’ annual sales.
Last year, U.S. consumers bought $645 million worth of fireworks, which was a drop of $4 million from 2011. Heckman attributed the decrease to a worse-than-usual drought season nationally.
To capitalize on this year’s festivities, some vendors were trying to lure customers by offering entertainment outside their stores.
The employees of Donny Aaron’s Arsenal of Fireworks in Boca Raton, Fla., ran a tight schedule to make sure the store was ready for the 5,000 to 6,000 shoppers expected before July 4.
Bins of sparklers and shelves of fireworks line the 6,000-square-foot “room full of boom,” as general manager Samuel Pearlstein calls it. Shopping carts were being refitted with new wheels and tents erected to shade customers.
Purchases around the Fourth account for roughly 50 to 60 percent of the store’s annual sales.
At the TNT Fireworks Supercenter in Dania Beach, Fla., preparations begin early. “On July 5, we begin planning for the next year,” said Itzhak Dickstein, president.
This year, Dickstein brought in more than 140 additional employees to assist his 10-person year-round staff. Their goal is to sell nearly all the fireworks and sparklers in their showroom.
The rest of the year, the supercenter ships fireworks to the Caribbean and South America.
Despite the seasonal nature of the fireworks industry, Dickstein is confident that revelers will continue to fire up sales year after year.
“It’s part of the heart of America,” he said.