NORTH EAST, PA (WKBW) — The fireworks business is booming -- literally. Scott Weigle is the manager of Phantom Fireworks of Erie, Pennsylvania. It's about an hour drive from Buffalo.
“I’ve been here 18 years and I've never seen a year this busy ever. Probably our busiest year ever,” said Weigle, “Sales have been through the roof. I think people are starving for some kind of entertainment. We didn't expect this. It caught us flat footed for sure.”
“We have 80 stores like this around the country. and this has been and will continue to be a top 10 store, maybe a top five store this year,” Danial Peart, Phantom Fireworks director of government affairs.
The parking lot is filled with plates from across the country. Phantom fireworks said they can sell fireworks to anyone from any state as long as they agree to use those fireworks legally.
“Whenever we have out of state residents they're expected to follow the laws within their state. We can't control what they buy but we expect them to follow the laws of the state they're going to,” Weigle said.
“So any customer that comes in, they're going to sign an affidavit. Essentially just a users best practice agreement saying we are going to use these fireworks within local and state and federal laws,” said Peart.
The use of fireworks across the country is on the rise.
“Since 1994, the use of fireworks has more than doubled to over 220 million pounds per year and those numbers come from the U.S. National Trade Commission,” Peart said.
And while sales are up, the amount of fireworks related injuries are down.
“Since 1994 to 2019 the injuries per 100,000 has decreased by 67% in the United States,” said Peart.
Ariel fireworks are illegal in New York. Sparkling devices are legal.