DETROIT (FOX 2) - At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was almost impossible to find toilet paper. Later in the pandemic, there are semiconductor shortages and other consumer goods. But this summer, an American tradition is threatened as fireworks will be in short supply as well.
In June, you can't drive more than a few miles without seeing a firework popup shop anywhere in the United States. In Michigan, you may not see many fireworks stands as the supply can't meet the demand due to shipping issues.
Fireworks distributors are urging people not to wait much longer to buy their fireworks as the pandemic is now causing issues in getting the fireworks into the U.S.
Reed Miller owns Pro Fireworks, a brick-and-mortar store, and says while they have supply now not everyone will be as fortunate.
"We know our shelves will be full but there isn’t much out there," Reed Miller said.
Miller owns Pro Fireworks, which has 14 locations in the Metro Detroit area. He says shipping issues from China due to the COVID-19 pandemic is to blame. But he says Pro Fireworks was ready almost a year ago.
"We started buying this year's stock last year, because last July, last August, we saw this coming," he said.
So yes, right now the shelves are full but it's come at a cost.
"Ocean freight last year for a load of fireworks was $12,000 for a container," Miller said. "But now it's about $36,000."
That's three times higher and he said they're doing what they can to prevent passing that cost on to consumers.
"Retail prices you might see 15 to 20 percent based on when we got it in," he said. "And in some cases maybe a little more than that. But that’s the entire industry."
Miller's shops are open year-round but those pop-up shops probably won't be.
"A lot of the tents and folks who set up on the corners, they are not going to be able to get the product," he said. "There's basically no wholesale for fireworks in the whole country."