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Valley party stores brace for helium costs to blow up as supply runs low

Published On: Oct 10 2012 03:35:06 AM CDT

helium shortage

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

Balloons are a token of any celebration, from birthdays to Halloween and everything in between. 

With the Coachella Valley's busy season and hottest events kicking off, "The White Party and all sorts of stuff for Christmas, there are tons of events coming up so I can't imagine them being absent of balloons," said Tristan MacLaine, of Palm Springs.

Steve Lippman says that might be the case because of a national helium shortage that's putting a pinch on party balloon retailers like his Partylab in Palm Springs.

"If somebody were to call and go, 'I want 1,000 balloons for an event,' we might have a difficult time getting enough product to take care of them," said Lippman.

The price is blowing up too. Come November, Lippman is bracing for the cost of helium to jump 20 percent.

"We'll try to be as cost conscious as we can with the cost increase. But there will be an increase for balloons," he said.

Suppliers are either out of helium, or have a low supply because of production problems or higher demand of the gas.

"Medical usage is the number one usage of helium. Cat scan machines, they take the most," said Lippman.

Balloons are nearly last in the priority line to fill up with helium. So for Partylab, it'll be first come first served for party-goers and planners.
   
"It's a huge part, balloons are a very big part of the party business. We're not making promises we can't keep," he said.

Lippman recommends if you're in need of balloons for the upcoming holidays or any celebration , you'll want to get your orders in sooner rather than later.