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National helium shortage leaving parties...deflated

Posted at 10:32 PM, Jul 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-26 23:32:42-04

If your weekend plans include a party, something might be missing. For months now, a nationwide helium shortage has been driving up prices meaning balloons for parties and events are harder to come by.

The Lafayette Party City has a sign saying, "Dear customers, Party City is out of helium. Sorry for the inconvenience." The company recently announced they will be mining for their own helium soon.

Local mom and pop shops are also falling short on the element.

Since 1974, Annie Venable has been creating flower arrangements and balloons for her flower shop in Scott.

She says the item was very popular.

"For holidays we would sell hundreds of balloons, valentines day mothers day and that's lost now," Venable says.

Recently she had to stop filling balloons.

"We do not have any helium at all; the price has probably went up ten times then when we started," Venable says. The last tank she purchased was over $350.00.

This is because of the nationwide shortage.

"The consensus view is that the shortage began in February 2018, when two of the world’s major suppliers began to allocate supply to their contract customers," Phil Kornbluth,President of Kornbluth Helium Consulting, LLC said.

Kornbluth says helium takes millions of years to reproduce and it isn't always easy to get.

"Helium tends to escape from the ground and once it hits the air, its no longer commercially viable," Kornbluth said.

Kornbluth added, "The shortage is due to the element diminishing, not a growth in demand."

Venable is bummed she can't currently fill the over 500 balloons she has sitting deflated in her shop.

"With the price of helium now there's no way we can make a profit from the helium and we can't compete with a big box store," Venable said.

Leaving your balloons deflated.