Local balloon business concerned about dwindling helium supply

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LAKEWOOD, Ohio– If you want to get helium balloons to celebrate, it might not be as easy as in years past because of a nationwide helium gas shortage.

Dan Molnar, owner of the Up N Away Balloon shop in Lakewood, said his busiest season is here and will last all summer. Graduation season means huge demand for helium balloons for colleges, high schools and many other backyard parties.

“I want to be able to provide that service for them,” Molnar said.

Just down the road in Rocky River, the Dollar Tree Store put up sign, saying they’re completely out of helium balloons because their supplier is out of helium gas.

Molnar is still meeting all of his orders, but admits he’s anxious.

“My concern right now is that I’m going to run out where I won’t be able to get any helium,” Molnar said.

Experts, including a professor at Cornell University, said demand for helium gas is growing extremely fast across the globe. It is used in a long list of technology, like in the medical field and the space industry as a coolant.

Lorain County Community College professor Dr. Regan Silverstri said to keep up with demand, the Middle East is racing to build new facilities to produce helium.

He’s more optimistic than some experts who say we could run out of helium gas in 30 years, if a lot more of isn’t produced.

“I don’t think we should be concerned it’s going to run out. I think that everyone in the industry is aware that the shortage is impending and are accommodations are being made,” Silvestri said.

Molnar said one of his helium suppliers ran out, the other is low. That means the price of helium goes up for him, which is passed onto his customers. He said they totally get it.

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