Fireworks sales slumping

HARLINGEN — Even with patriotic spirit running high, fireworks sales are down.

At Alamo Fireworks, Al Santa Ana calls it the poorest sales he has seen at the the company’s megastore on Business 83.

“It’s our worst,” Santa Ana said from behind a counter in warehouse packed with fireworks. “I’ve never had a Fourth of July this bad.”

Santa Ana blames the low sales on the consumer spending.

“I think it’s the economy,” he said.

This year, more residents appear to be “hitting the piggy bank” to buy smaller supplies of fireworks, he said.

“People aren’t spending,” Santa Ana said. “We used to have a lot of big spenders. We don’t have them right now.”

A sharp drop in Mexican customers also has helped drive down sales, Santa Ana said.

Santa Ana said many Mexican shoppers do not want to risk returning to Mexico with fireworks purchased in the U.S. because drug cartels control fireworks sales there, charging hefty prices.

In the Rio Grande Valley, he said, Christmas and New Year’s Eve fireworks sales are significantly higher because the heavy Mexican-American and immigrant populations tend to spend more at Christmastime.