WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — With inflation affecting virtually every industry, Fourth of July parties will likely be more expensive this year, especially for those who plan to set off their own fireworks.
In Rhode Island, only ground and handheld sparkling devices are legal for general use; those that shoot into the air or make a bang are prohibited.
Regardless of the size, the owner of a Woonsocket fireworks shop tells 12 News the billion-dollar industry is seeing costs explode.
“I’m hoping to have a good Fourth of July, but it’s not going to bring in the numbers we’re hoping for because everything is so expensive,” TCS Fireworks owner Michael O’Neill said Tuesday.
O’Neill’s been in business since 1999 and said he’s never seen wholesale prices this high, which is leading to steeper costs for his customers.
“A case of sparklers, for instance, was $43 three years ago. The same sparklers are $89 now,” O’Neill said. “I’ve been buying fireworks since last year, soon as I could get them, so I bought as many as I could.”
“We still have a lot of fireworks that are reasonably priced, but when I reorder, forget it, it’s off the scale,” he added.
According to O’Neill, a container of fireworks that normally costs around $8,500 is running him as much as $60,000.
“People are going to still buy fireworks because they want to celebrate, but they are going to cut back because everything is way more money … plus the price of gas, they have to eat food, everything is more money,” he explained. “Every time I order — which is every six to twelve days — the price went up every single time. I don’t understand how the price is going up.”
O’Neill encouraged people not to wait to get their fireworks since inventory is low nationwide.