Mark Schnyder, NBC 5 News
Supply is down, demand is up and cost is way up.
Business was popping inside Party Warehouse on Camp Bowie Road in Fort Worth Saturday morning. But party balloons aren't all that's being inflated there.
"We've had to raise prices," said owner Steve Steffgen.
Steffgen says his helium costs are up 300%. He is charging his customers more on a dozen helium balloons. From $6.99 to now $9.99.
Steffgen fills his customers in about the helium shortage which he said is a supply and demand issue. Most of the demand comes from the medical industry. An entrepreneur with three party stores is not on the priority list for helium.
"We've had to raise prices on helium tanks that we rent and we've even had to stop renting for a while," Steffgen said.
The shortage has forced Party Warehouse to become more creative, coming up with arrangements that use less helium or none at all. Steffgen showed us "balloon columns" on display in his story. They're decorative and festive and the balloons are filled with air, no helium.
Steffgen said people planning on picking up helium balloon arrangements for New Year's Eve not to do it too early in the day. His and other stores are filling some balloons with 20% to 40% air to save helium, which means the balloons will deflate a few hours sooner.