BELLMEAD, Texas — Firework stands in Central Texas have seen a large uptick in sales as families put on large displays at home to make up for canceled shows across the region.
Terresa Hale has spent Independence Day selling fireworks at Mr. W's fireworks in Bellmead for the last eight years, but she says she has never seen anything like the crowds she has seen the last few days.
"The 3rd of July is usually a somewhat busy day, but yesterday, the 3rd was busier than the 4th normally is," Hale said.
Hale attributes the boom in sales in part to the coronavirus. She said people have been purchasing bigger fireworks for their own displays because cities across Central Texas canceled their Fourth of July celebrations.
Noah Jewell purchased a large firework set for his family in Gholson. Jewell said he anticipates more people in rural areas will be putting on large displays.
"There are a lot of people out there who like big shows too, so I've got a feeling that it's gonna be more than just us," Jewell said.
COVID-19 also led more people to shop for fireworks ahead of Independence Day. Accoriding to Hale, Mr. W's sold about as many fireworks this year on July 3 as they do most years on July 4.
"Most people were very plain in saying they were trying to shop early to avoid the crowds due to COVID," Hale said.
Fireworks are in shorter supply this year after the virus halted production in China. Hale says finding fireworks to fill the shelves has not been difficult, but they have had trouble meeting the growing demand.
"We ran out of several items yesterday and we brought another shipment in," she said. "And then I brought 71 more cases in and we're all out of that."
The store has instituted new safety guidelines to keep customers safe. They require customers to wear masks and have created a path through the store to help customers social distance.
"It's been a different year," Hale said. "A good year, but a different year."
It is illegal to discharge fireworks inside the city limits of Waco, Temple, Belton, Killeen, Bryan or College Station.