Businessman Emmanuel Glasgow shows the popular selling items from his C3 Mall location in Ste Madeline, yesterday.

Families are planning to usher in 2022 with a brilliant array of fireworks, this is evidenced by a significant increase in fireworks sales this year.

According to the managing director of FireOne Fireworks Andre Abraham, sales are up.

“I never thought in my wildest imagination that fireworks would be an essential product in a pandemic but it seems like the pandemic has helped people to appreciate the simple things in life and to basically be grateful for what we have and our families and our health,” said Abraham in an interview with Guardian Media.

Despite an increase in prices this year due to shipping expenses, Abraham said sales were better than last year.

“Coming out of our Boxing Day sales we saw a huge level of enthusiasm for our products and it seems that people are very interested in celebrating at their homes in small gatherings, and the product they choose to bring in the new year is actually fireworks.”

He said the bright lights at the strike of midnight represent positivity.

“Definitely, we have seen a lot more customers coming into the store in this year and sales are significantly better than last year which is strange because obviously in the middle of a pandemic you would think that people would be conservative. But it seems that the general trend we are seeing is that people are just grateful to be alive and have their families in good health and just the basic things we would have taken for granted before the pandemic. The pandemic has kind of helped our business and helped the population and people in general to kind of appreciate the simple things in life—a smile, a hug from our kids, from our parents and just bringing people together and communities are sharing love and positivity.”

Abraham, however, said their customers have shown interest in silent and pet-friendly fireworks.

“We have a lot of innovation that took place in the store with the pet friendly fireworks and silent fireworks. We see that a lot of people are being considerate and more respectful of their communities by buying these silent fireworks. What we try to do is to promote the use of the product in a considerate and respectful way where it is only being let off on Old Year’s between the hours of six and midnight and maybe until 12.30 and in that way we will truly be our brother’s keeper and look out for our senior members of our community as well as people who have pets.”

Abraham said in that way they would also have achieved their mantra of having a win-win situation. Describing the pandemic as World War 3, he said people have to look out for each other, be kind, considerate, loving and respectful. However, he said the company had also experienced a lot of supply chain problems and they were concerned that they would not have stock for the Boxing Day sale.

“A lot of the containers got stuck in China but our team has been amazing in terms of following through with shipments and the long-standing relationships we have with the shipping companies that we were able to successfully bring out enough to see us through for this new year.”

However, he said they had to increase their prices between five to eight per cent, depending on the product.

“Besides the availability of containers, the freights have quadrupled. The freights on containers now is four times what it used to be and that has definitely impacted the price. Some items have gone up and in some cases we had no other alternative because the profit margin is so small that we couldn’t absorb the price increases so we had to raise prices on some of the items.”

As the country enters a New Year, Abraham said it was important to tap into the most important resource in the country which is the people.

“And come together to do whatever it takes to be our brother’s keeper and hold each other hands so that we all emerge out of this pandemic quickly.”

However, one fireworks vendor at C3 Mall, San Fernando, Emmanuel Glasgow said sales were slow.

“Trini people like to wait for last minute, so I am hoping that sales increase,” the vendor told Guardian Media.

Meanwhile, New Year’s sales at Samaroo’s Ltd have plummeted. Manager Mahendra Singh told Guardian Media, “Sales for New Year’s right now is terrible as you can see the store is empty.” While there are a few places hosting parties, Singh said they brought in their own New Years kits.

“One or two people are coming in who are having small limes with family, five or six members, they buying hats and horns and things like that. Christmas sales and New Year’s sales have been really bad,” Singh said.

He said sales were better last December.

“Last year there was no Carnival but schools were doing projects for Carnival and they started to buy stuff in December. But now, nothing at all.”