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Pandemic Taking A Toll On Local Pyrotechnic Industry

Joel Page
Associated Press/file

The pandemic is prompting municipalities throughout the state to cancel their traditional July Fourth fireworks displays, and that's having a significant effects on the pyrotechnic industry.Steven Marson of Central Maine Pyrotechnics says of the more than 100 contracts for public fireworks shows he had lined up, only eight are left. That’s cost him about $1 million in business so far.

“I feel fortunate. However, I could be out of business if this continues into 2021 because I don’t have the means to keep going when you have no revenue coming in.”

Marson says he's trying to stay optimistic. “Mentally it affects you, but you have to every day put your best foot forward. And that’s what we’re doing in our business and thinking positively.”

Marson says the company’s retail fireworks stores have helped keep the business going. And he says Central Maine Pyrotechnics will produce shows this weekend, primarily in northern towns including Oxford, Greenville, Jackman, Lubec, and Millinocket.

Advocates in the pyrotechnics industry, meanwhile, are trying to push Congress for more financial relief.

New Hampshire-based Atlas Pyrotechnics usually handles hundreds of municipal fireworks displays for the holiday all over New England.  But Vice President Michael Shae says contracts have been cut by 90% because of the pandemic.

He says he’s likely lost $3 million in business and others have it worse. “The prospect of many fireworks display companies going out of business is a very real possibility.”

Shae says his company's retail stores, where business is up at least 30%, have helped keep the company afloat. Shae says the industry is asking Congress for more financial relief in the form of extended Paycheck Protection Program loans.