Fireworks sales in McMinnville have bombed.
Vendors are attributing the slow sales to unusually dry weather and scorching temperatures.
“People don’t want to set their house on fire or their neighbor’s house on fire,” said Paul Martin who has operated the fireworks stand at Plaza Shopping Center for 10 years, ever since an ordinance was passed in 2002 allowing fireworks sales in the city limits.
Martin’s wife, Joyce, added, “No one wants to leave home when it’s over 100 degrees outside.”
Darrell Austin has owned a fireworks stand on Beersheba Street, right past Kingwood Foodland, for 43 years. He said sales are down about 50 percent according to detailed records he has kept for every year he has been in business.
Austin also attributes the slow sales to dry conditions and over 100-degree weather.
“People don’t want to get out in the heat,” Austin said Monday. “It was cooler last night and I had a better night. If people don’t come and buy, I’m taking a major loss this year.”
Nathan Smith, who has operated the fireworks tent in Northgate Center for 10 years, also said sales have been a dud. He too believes people are worried about the heat and the dry weather. He did say that sales had picked up in the last couple of days, perhaps because rain was in the forecast. He said he had heard a couple of fireworks stands had closed up and gone home due to the slow sales.
Smith is grateful his fireworks are sold on commission. He said he cannot afford to lose money because all proceeds go toward Lighthouse Ministries which funds a men’s homeless shelter. He will be able to send the unsold items back to the company. Smith said many of the men who are staying at the shelter have been able to find jobs and are able to spend nights at the fireworks tent, enabling it to be open 24 hours a day.
Smith said he has been blessed.
“People know what the money is going for,” Smith said. “Some people have dropped by just to leave donations. This is our only fundraiser of the year. The Lord has got us this far. He will keep us going. We have to be patient and know things happen in God’s time.”
State law only allows fireworks stands to sell merchandise through July 5. Most fireworks stands visited said they will sell what fireworks they have left at a discount on July 5. Fireworks are allowed to be shot in the city limits into August.
A change in the weather might be the best medicine to help ailing sales.
“We have had rain all around us,” said Joyce Martin. “I hope it comes here.”