Party’s over: Helium shortage hastens end for one local business

Party Shop off Southside Boulevard closing doors

For 18 years, Amal Soni has helped Jacksonville residents celebrate holidays like Valentine's Day.

Soni owns Party Shop off Southside Boulevard, but the store's celebration will soon come to an end.

The shop is closing its doors next month after seeing a decline in sales due to several factors, including the rise of online sales and trends -- as well as a global helium shortage.

“The price that we pay for helium has more than doubled in the last couple years,” Soni said.

He said he's going to miss being in the business of helping people party.

“It wasn’t like going to the dentist's office. When people come in, they're usually happy. They’re having a celebration,” Soni said.

Experts say the helium shortage that's partially responsible for sending the Party Shop out of business is due to a higher demand than the supply of helium available on Earth, leading some business owners, like Soni, to increase their prices dramatically for customers.

“There have also been times when we haven’t been able to get helium, so if we ordered 10 tanks, we may only get three,” Soni said.

Helium tanks at Party Shop on Southside Boulevard
Helium tanks at Party Shop on Southside Boulevard (WJXT)

As Party Shop gets ready to close for good, almost the entire store is marked down, but thanks to the shortage, one item that won’t be at a discount are helium balloons.

Soni said they are still buying helium until the very end so that is why they have to keep the balloons at regular price.

The shortage does not just impact party shops. Helium is also commonly used in the medical field for MRI scanners.

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