Bad weather leads to slow firework sales, boost in liquor revenue

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

January 8, 2015

fireworks (Editied)The financial roar by the shore that traditionally occurs to welcome in the New Year was more of a whimper this time around, as Mother Nature’s lack of cooperation was the major reason for a less than stellar fiscal return for the Laguna Madre region for the end-of-year festivities. The typically reliable clear skies and favorable weather were nowhere to be found as a cold front rolled through the area during the latter part of December to residents’ and business owners’ disappointment.

Hit especially hard were normally surefire merchants at fireworks stands. Benjamin Garcia, coming down to in Laguna Heights area for the first year, opened up a firework stand representing the San Benito-based distributor Mr. G’s Fireworks on Dec. 26.

“We had to return probably half of our inventory due to the weather,” said Garcia, dismayed. “We were planning to sell 20,000 items and we didn’t even make a third of it. You know how it is in South Texas- one day it will be hot, the next cold, the next rainy. It’s unforeseen sometimes even with the forecasts. We’ve got to take the loss. There’s no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts.’ The thing is that hopefully we can pick up for the Fourth of July and make up for this.”

The wet weather also prevented the city’s regular firework displays from happening, which reduced the number of potential customers who come out to witness the booming spectacles. This lack of enthusiasm stifled the overall boost the local economy experiences during this time in nearly all aspects from temporary stands to restaurants and venues.

But it wasn’t all bad news for businesses hoping to capitalize on the induction of 2015. The nippy weather either had no effect or played to the advantage of local liquor stores like Valley-owned Feldman’s Wine & Liquor. Those establishments in Port Isabel and South Padre Island generally saw a small boost in revenue with residents choosing to stay in to celebrate.

“I did get a lot of customers that came in saying that the shows there were going to go on got cancelled,” said Feldman’s store manager Gabriel de la Torre. “So they were buying to stay home. Overall we did pretty good.”

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