Indiana fireworks sales booming this summer after 2012 drought
The Fourth of July holiday is working out well this year for people selling fireworks in Indiana. After the drought dried up firework stores' profits last year, business is much better this year.
Most fireworks shops did not turn a profit during the summer of 2012, and some didn't even open. Customers weren't buying fireworks because of bans that prohibited setting them off. Fire was a huge concern last summer as the drought persisted for months, creating dangerously dry conditions.
But a year later, customers were back, snapping fireworks off the shelves at Discount Fireworks in Greenwood.
Hannah Lipps at Discount Fireworks says business has been "really busy, especially this morning. We had people come in here looking to spend $500, $600 worth of fireworks. We had a guy spend $2,500 on fireworks."
Doug Hormann figures he spent around $200 on fireworks for the Fourth of July.
Heather Pieper spent "probably around $100 and I usually get a lot of artillery shells."
"I think we're gonna try to stay under the $300 to $400 range," said Adam Ranard, Indianapolis.
It's a remarkable difference from 2012. A year ago, shelves were full but the shop was empty after a historic drought snuffed out sales.
"Just sitting here with a lonely computer doing what I can to pass the time. The locals just haven't either been interested or have been so scared off by hey, my grass is dry and I don't want to risk it," Jason Mueller told us last year.
This year, they're actually running out of merchandise. Some of the fireworks buckets are empty and they sold more than $2,000 worth in just three hours on Thursday.
Indiana Homeland Security says only 437 fireworks stand permits were issued in 2012. It's double that number now. Stores are making a profit and putting more people like Hannah to work.
As for the buyers, "I'm sure everybody's in the same boat as far as maybe wanting to provide a better show this year," said Ranard.
Many of these temporary shops didn't have to discount fireworks as much as last year either. Some now say their sales have tripled.