Fireworks stands facing short supply as they open for Fourth of July season

Paul Myers of Boom Boom Billy’s in Marion said the shortage is due to shipping delays.
Updated: Jun. 20, 2021 at 11:14 PM CDT
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MARION, Iowa (KCRG) - Coming off a 2020 that saw its sales double from a typical year, Boom Boom Billy’s fireworks stand is back open for a fifth summer season in Marion.

“Every year, our customers come back,” owner Paul Myers said. “They know that we’re a local company, and they like to buy local.”

But Myers doesn’t know how much will be available for those customers to buy this year.

“I’m just sitting here, scratching my head as to whether I’m going to have enough material or enough product to get us through the Fourth,” he said.

Last year, Myers restocked six times because his stand was so busy. He credits that to larger fireworks displays being canceled because of the pandemic, leading more people to purchase and set off their own fireworks in their backyards.

This year, he expects that demand to stay high, but his suppliers have told him he won’t be able to restock at all because of slow shipments and supply-chain issues.

“Luckily, preseason, I ordered heavy,” Myers said.

For those who do buy, firefighters are urging them to be extremely careful.

Much of Iowa is in a drought, and one misplaced firework could spark bigger problems.

“Let alone the grass and vegetation you have around your house that a firework could land and ignite that,” Marion Fire Marshal Wade Markley said. “You also have to remember that you have dry leaves and things that are up in your gutters and your roof, and we don’t want bottle rockets and sparks from fireworks to ignite any of those materials.”

As of Sunday, two counties in Iowa had issued burn bans: Polk and Hardin.

Myers said if it gets dry enough for counties to issue burn bans, he would discourage people from setting off fireworks until it is less dry — if they have already bought their fireworks.

“We hope we have enough to get us all the way through the season, but we just don’t know,” Myers said.

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