What goes up, must come down. A national helium shortage is quickly becoming a real party pooper.
If something goes up and it is totally unnecessary I just stop buying it,” says Westwood Floral and Gift owner Brenda Pytash. “I’m sure that the general public thinks the same thing and there will come a point where they are going to say I’m not paying $10 for a balloon.” Even though helium is the second most abundant element in the universe, analysts say, existing resources are dwindling and future extraction projects have been delayed. Now, the lack of America’s party gas is affecting local business. “The cost of the helium to fill them has gone up exponentially,” said Pytash “I have been in business for 30 years and it has really more than tripled in the last few years.” Pytash says to purchase helium from a local vendor she has to enter into a contract, which could get expensive. So instead she buys from commercial retailers like Walmart or Party City but helium is hard to come by. Pytash also tells 6 News the number of balloons she sells has decreased over the years. But, she says it isn’t just because Mylar balloons have become less popular. “We used to sell helium Mylar balloons for $3, says Pytash. “Now we have had to increase our price to $5 per balloon and I don’t think it is going to stop there.” But Pytash says not to worry, her shop still carries balloons for that special occasion, but she says her focus is the flowers.