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Helium shortage strains local party businesses

Posted at 2:02 PM, Apr 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-30 21:41:53-04

A worldwide shortage of helium is leading to deflated sales at some party stores here on the Central Coast.

Places like Let’s Party in San Luis Obispo say they’ve been struggling to find places that will sell them helium as the gas is mostly being reserved for hospitals and the aerospace industry.

The co-owner of Let’s Party says they’d likely go out of business if they lost access to the gas.

“It’s more than half our business so right now we’re 50 percent down what we used to be because we cut back so much,” said Edward Dutton. “We’re not renting out tanks of helium, we’re not filling up other people’s balloons as much and big balloons are out of the question. It’s a big, big thing.

Let’s Party says they’ve had to increase the prices of some of their balloons to offset the increased price of helium.

The shortage of helium is partly being caused by the decrease in natural resources that create the gas.

The U.S. has been the world’s largest supplier of helium for decades, but the government plans on getting out of the helium business by 2021.

A sign at Let’s Party in San Luis Obispo informs customers of a helium shortage. (KSBY photo)