Josephine Dunbar of Augusta is celebrating the Fourth of July on a budget this year.
On Thursday she spent $6 on firecrackers and sparklers at Wacky Waynes Fireworks on U.S. Highway 1 in North Augusta. In years past, her family members each bought large amounts of fireworks, but theyre cutting back because of the economy, she said.
Everybodys going to buy a little bit and save money, Mrs. Dunbar said.
Local fireworks stores are noticing a decrease in customer spending, but theyre optimistic that people will still buy fireworks.
Theres a big cutback, said Cheryl Grubbs, a cashier at Carolina Crackers on U.S. Highway 1 in North Augusta. People are not spending nearly as much. I had someone last year spend $1,200 on fireworks, and I dont think well see near that this year.
Big stuff isnt flying off the shelves like it used to. Usually by now, weve had a lot (of customers). Our busiest days are the third and fourth, so I know it will pick up, she said.
Sales at Wacky Waynes location on West Martintown Road in North Augusta started picking up Wednesday, manager Skip Playford said.
I cant say Ive seen any huge effect of the economy, Mr. Playford said. I think people are still buying fireworks. Even if theyre buying less, people are still buying. I think were going to do very well .
Instead of buying big-ticket items, many customers are searching for deals. Wacky Waynes has buy-one-get-one-free deals on some items, he said.
Popular items include artillery shells, multishot aerials and assortment packs, he said.
Michael Janicki, the manager at Fireworks Giant on Old Plantation Road in North Augusta, said sales are slower than last year.
This time last year, we were probably packed on the first of July, Mr. Janicki said.
The average purchase is $100-$150, which is lower than last year, he said. Hes still optimistic that his store will be busy today and Saturday.
Oscar Flores of Augusta isnt going to let the economy stop his familys Fourth of July tradition. He has four children who look forward to fireworks every year, he said.
Theyve been asking for them the whole week. The only thing that I didnt do this year that we did last year is we always go out of town, Mr. Flores said.
He spent $42 on fireworks at Carolina Crackers on Thursday and said he plans to return for more.