If you weren't already aware of (and concerned about) the worldwide helium shortage, you're about to be. We've got some bad news, folks. Everyone's favorite source of balloons, party favors, and weird holiday-themed decor is closing 45 of its stores. And it's all because of helium. Or rather the lack of helium.
Yes, apparently Party City is so reliant on the sale of balloons that the helium shortage seriously damaged their profits this year. America loves balloons too much (or we just can't think of any other way to decorate our parties). We're greedy for helium, and now we're all paying the price: the loss of our beloved Party City.
Journey with us through the tale of loss and helium to learn how Party City ended up making such a sad and horrifying decision. We are all mourning the loss of so many noisemakers and party hats. RIP Party Cities across the US.
Most of us know Party City.It's the kind of store you visit if you want to make an event feel fancy, but not expensive.
Party City has been on the scene since 1986.It was the first store to capitalize on the party good market.
It's not just about parties though.They've also got a major market in Halloween, which was over 1/4 of their revenue in 2015.
But one of the staple items at every Party City has always been balloons.Literally every kind of balloon you could imagine. Think it, they have it.
They've got classic balloons.Filled with helium of course.
They've got oversize balloons.They've got custom balloons.
They've got balloons in the shapes of letters.Balloons filled with confetti.
Basically there's a serious balloon situation at every Party City.And it's a situation that I would like to be a part of.
Enter: the helium shortage.We've been low on helium for months if not years now.
How is that possible?If you paid attention in science class, you might remember that helium is the second most abundant element in the universe.
So why are we running out?Well even though there's a lot of helium out there, most of it isn't in a form we can use.
In order to use helium, we have to extract it from natural gas.And not all natural gasses have enough helium for it to be worth it.
Meaning there's a limited supply of what we can actually access.And when there's a limited supply, but demand keeps going up? Shortages.
Plus it turns out that balloons are the last priority when it comes to helium distribution.Helium's other uses include MRIs, fiber-optics, aerospace technology, rocket propulsion, and military applications.
I know it sounds harsh, but "cool party decor" just doesn't measure up.Especially when the other options are "important medical equipment" and "amazing space exploration".
This shortage has caused a major dent in Party City's profits.
JUST IN: #PartyCity says it plans to close about 45 of its locations this year, roughly 5 percent of its national f… https://t.co/igx6M3VQ6b— NBC Connecticut (@NBC Connecticut)1557499296.0
It is a bummer, but there are some upsides.
Party City $PRTY reports earnings: - Adjusted EPS: $0.01 - Revenue: $513.1 million - Notes continued "helium challenges"— TheStreet (@TheStreet)1557400071.0
But this is a blow to a lot of people.
The party is over for Party City – the company announced it will close 45 stores this year amid a global helium sho… https://t.co/7vyrmSwmlX— TODAY (@TODAY)1557487997.0
Seriously, the internet is surprisingly upset.
I can't believe this is real https://t.co/oeu9odnk6L— Betsy Klein (@Betsy Klein)1557495888.0
Although other people are less serious about the issue.
45 (About 5%) of #PartyCity stores will close. Also, they found a new helium source so balloon sales should go back… https://t.co/sPTsK1Kiep— Reggie Aqui (@Reggie Aqui)1557489914.0
As are puns.
@betsy_klein I have been covering the helium shortage coming to Party City since 2013. This remains my best lede ev… https://t.co/XpKWsUKIXQ— Lauren Fox (@Lauren Fox)1557497458.0