Will 2020 be a boon for fireworks stands? Sellers on Port Madison Reservation hope so.
The Puget Sound region's major Fourth of July fireworks displays have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left many families wondering if they should create their own neighborhood displays.
Fireworks sellers on the Port Madison Indian Reservation hope it could mean a bump in business.
Bennie Armstrong has been selling fireworks for 47 years. His stand — Bennie’s Jets — is one of about 10 family-run stands near the Agate Pass Bridge, which connects Bainbridge Island to the Kitsap Peninsula.
Sellers are predicting that customers will want to spend big bucks on their own fireworks displays this holiday. Everybody likes fireworks, Armstrong says.
“Everybody likes a little bit of outlaw," Armstrong said. "It is the American spirit — whether it be the people that are protesting Black Lives Matter or the ones saying the Second Amendment is their right — it’s kind of an American thing to light fireworks.”
But it could go the other way. With major losses in employment and income around the region, people could just skip buying fireworks this year to save money. That really matters for the families who run these stands — fireworks bring in important seasonal funds that can make up to 30 percent of a family’s yearly income.
These last few days before the Fourth of July will determine if stands rake in a profit or end up in the hole. The best they can do, Armstrong says, is cross their fingers and hope for a big 2020.