Fireworks aren't exactly flying off the shelves

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Leonard Cooper Jr. and his family have been selling fireworks for more than 50 years.  This year, there's not quite as much pop at the cash register.

The fourth falling on a weekday plays a role, reducing sales by about 15%, according to Cooper.  "A lot of people have to go back to work the next day so they don't have that long weekend to enjoy at the island or whatever they want to do," Cooper explained.

The economy also has something to do with it.  "People are still buying fireworks," Cooper said. "They're buying less, they're buying smaller ticket items so per se, customers that would normally spend $100 are now spending half of that."

Put Tommy Balius in that camp when it comes to spending.  "I'll probably spend less, seeing as how I can't really afford it nowadays since the economy is going bad," Balius said.

Cooper loves customers like Darel Balius, who plans on spending about $300.  "I've been spending more each year, mainly for my daughter so we can get out there and have a good time and I don't think the economy is really affecting the way that I buy fireworks." Balius said.

There are many things that impact the sale of fireworks, but perhaps the biggest impact of all comes from a foreign country, something we have no control over, according to Cooper.  "The Chinese have been going up on the fireworks every six months so just the increase for just this July, the order was up another 17%. They're eating into our profit and making it tough to keep the prices good." Cooper said.

Even with the patriotic holiday just days away, people are still looking for more bang for their bucks.

This year, Americans are expected to spend close to a billion dollars on fireworks for the 4th of July holiday.

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