LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- A global helium shortage is impacting businesses large and small. Local businesses that rely on the non-renewable gas are making due without any idea of when or if helium will be readily available again.
“All of the sudden they just said no more,” said Michele Rothstein, owner of Balloons With A Twist. “We felt [helium shortages] a few times over the years and it always kind of comes around. But this time it hasn't really come around."
Rothstein opened her valley balloon business 23 years ago. She started by making balloon animals on the Strip. She’s since grown her business with A-list clients like Mariah Carey and Justin Timberlake.
Over the past few months, Rothstein and her team have dealt with rising helium costs -- paying several hundred dollars per tank.
“That wasn’t the issue. I wouldn't mind paying more when there's a shortage. I totally understand but then they weren't even able to provide it to us," she said. “We're like well…we're not going to sell helium, we're not going to shutdown, [so] we just got really creative with our installs. And it actually helped us because we do things that other companies don't do."
Rothstein said she and her team build their elaborate displays using air for now. Rothstein said she can still get helium but it’s hard to come by. Instead, she’s encouraging her clients to use 100 percent air displays.
Helium isn’t just used to fill up balloons. UNLV Professor Michael Pravica explained. It has plenty of important uses for research. It’s even used in MRI machines.
"So the problem is that number one, there's a demand for helium,” said Pravica. “Number two, we're running out of the supply."
Pravica explained that helium is hard to come by. Finding another deposit is possible but will take time.
In the meantime, businesses are having to make due without helium.
"The helium shortage isn't just felt here in Las Vegas. It's felt everywhere,” said Rothstein. “So we all got creative."