National helium shortage affecting local businesses

BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - If you've been looking for balloons at your next party, you may have noticed signs about a national helium shortage. The issue has local businesses feeling deflated about low or no sales.

Until a year ago, the Petal Patch sold balloons to go with their flower arrangements. Now, balloons aren't even an option.

"In fact, we sold our helium machine earlier this year," said Courtenay Logan, an employee at the Petal Patch.

The Petal Patch says their cost for helium went up about 30 percent.

"I think sometimes small businesses might feel things first. It was just a common request for us, so we do try to be mindful. If our prices go up, we have to raise them on customers and at some point it's just no longer reasonable for even a customer to even provide or purchase," said Logan.

The impacts of the national helium shortage are obvious at larger businesses, too. A sign on the door of the Dollar Tree in College Station says that they are temporarily out of helium. At the Party City in College Station, they've also struggled to keep helium in stock. A note on their website explains the shortage to customers.

A supply and demand issue is forcing businesses to get creative.

"It was difficult. I think over the years balloons have kind of been a staple with florists shop, so any transition is always difficult but we try to stay up to date and innovate in different ways. We now offer candles, chocolates, and various gift items throughout the store just providing alternates worked for us,' said Logan.

The helium shortage is also impacting hospitals and scientific research.