Local balloon businesses grapple with worldwide helium shortage

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A worldwide helium shortage is hitting home here in Central Alabama. 

CBS 42 spotted a sign outside of a Dollar Tree store notifying customers that the store was out of helium.

This coincides with a worldwide helium shortage, resulting in major party stores and smaller businesses dealing with limited supply.

Shortages have happened before, but this most recent one seems to be lingering. 

Jessica Zillman owns BoBalloons, she tells CBS42 helium providers just can’t keep up with the demand right now. 

“I know for a fact because we get helium at the same place, if they’re allocated to a minimum, they could put in an order for 20 tanks and only get two,” said ZIllman.

Zillman tells CBS 42 there isn’t a lot of information coming out about the shortage, so right now it’s a guessing game, she’s staying on her toes. 

“You find creative ways to do stuff without helium, that is one benefit, this piece right here, it’s not my best but this is air, so I can do a lot of work without actually needing helium,” said Zillman.

In recent years, the medical industry has boosted demanded for the gas, using it for several reasons including MRI technology. 

CBS42 reached out to a local Party City, the store manager said over the phone, right now the store is not feeling the effects of the shortage. 

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