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Jun 19, 2012 8:46 PM by Siera Santos

Fireworks ban leaves vendors stuck with excess inventory

For a fireworks and flags store, a fire ban on the Fourth of July is like a toy store on Christmas that can't sell presents.

"We were hoping this year was going to rescue us from last year and get our sales back up and get us smooth sailing again. But of course, that's not going to happen now," says Jody Ilett, an owner of Affordable Flags and Firework.

The only fireworks Jody and her husband are allowed to sell are booby traps, snappers and champagne poppers. Because they order their inventory months in advance, they're sitting on a stockpile of goods worth upward of $50,000.

Despite highly publicized fire bans, Ilett says she still gets numerous customers who haven't heard the news. For fireworks lovers, it takes some of the spark out of celebrating Independence Day.

"It's just a picknick then. It might as well be a weekend then you go back to work the next day, but fireworks make it the Fouth of July," Ilett says.

Fireworks have an indefinite shelf-life as long as they're stored in a cool, dry place. But not being able to sell goods is still bad for business.

"It just means another year of pinching pennies."

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