Sin City Balloons Flying High!
Here's an article on CNN from Dan Flynn, President of The Balloon Council and COO of Pioneer Balloon Company
Don't deflate the party
By Daniel A. Flynn, Special to CNN
updated 11:29 AM EST, Sat March 2, 2013
A balloon seller in Tokyo Disneyland in 2011.
Daniel Flynn: Let's not panic over the current helium shortage since it is temporary
Flynn: We can be smarter about using helium, but we shouldn't end balloon sales
He says helium reserves are projected to last for 300 years at today's usage rates
Flynn: The economic concerns of the balloon industry must be taken seriously
Editor's note: Daniel A. Flynn is chairman of the Balloon Council, an organization of retailers, distributors and manufacturers. He is also chief operating officer of Pioneer Balloon Company.
(CNN) -- An amusement park is usually a place of joy and celebration for children around the world. But recently, kids in Japan may have met disappointment when officials at Tokyo's Disneyland decided to suspend sales of balloons because of a temporary global helium shortage.
Despite some worries over the world's supply of helium, today's situation shouldn't cause panic.
Helium is the second most abundant element in the universe, though it is much rarer on Earth. Crude helium is a byproduct of processing natural gas liquids in the United States and liquefied natural gas offshore. From that processing, crude helium is purified and liquefied for sale and delivery.
Helium prices balloon as supplies run out
Daniel A. Flynn
To date, extractors have been slow in developing helium supplies. This means the helium supply floats, if you will, at the mercy of the natural gas market. A decrease in natural gas prices has led to lower crude helium production overseas.
Added to the reduced natural gas production, there have been problems at several natural gas production facilities, including existing facilities not operating at full production and delays in new facilities.
Become a fan of CNNOpinion
Stay up to date on the latest opinion, analysis and conversations through social media. Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion and follow us @CNNOpinion on Twitter. We welcome your ideas and comments.
This "perfect storm" between facility issues and lower natural gas production overseas has caused a shortage in helium worldwide. But like the shortage experienced in 2006 and 2007, it will pass. The situation will likely ameliorate by the end of 2013.
The world is not running out of helium. Estimated worldwide helium reserves are projected to last for 300 years at today's usage rates. Also, new plants are scheduled to begin operation in 2013.
While the temporary shortage is a call to be smart and judicious with helium use in the very short term, it does not justify the alarmist rhetoric of those who have called for an end to balloon sales.
Balloons are far from a frivolous symbol of celebration -- there are real people earning their livings from balloon sales. In today's economic climate, we need to be expanding the workforce, not contracting it.
Tens of thousands of people in the United States have jobs that may be affected by the balloon industry, including manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers.
Opinion: U.S. needs a strategy on helium
For small retailers, balloons are often an important component of the store's success, and many of these small businesses would not be able to survive without the revenue generated from balloons.
In light of the economic impact, the importance of the balloon industry must be taken seriously. At the same time, the current helium shortage calls for creativity to ensure that this resource is available for its many critical uses across the commercial, medical, electronic, fiber optics and defense industries.
That's why many balloon retailers are mixing air or other safe, alternate gases with helium to extend the supply through this shortage.
While helium users are dealing with the effects of limited supply, Congress is working on critical legislation that will continue to ensure a needed source of helium until the private sector has enough helium production to meet worldwide capacity.
Current law requires the Federal Helium Reserve operations be reauthorized after its debts are paid off, which is expected later this year. The House has introduced legislation and held a hearing in the new congressional session to find a solution that would continue the federal operation of the reserve beyond this point, ensuring stability and predictability in the helium market for a short, finite time until known plants in development start operation.
Because of the perceived helium shortage, in summer 2012, the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team planned to suspend a 50-year tradition in which the team launched red balloons into the air to celebrate the team's first touchdown at every home game. After a closer evaluation, the football program realized the shortage was nowhere near as dire. Nebraska touchdown celebrations continued throughout the season, but with a few less balloons than in years past.
Nebraska is not alone in its realization. Armed with the facts, the best policy toward helium is to recognize the supply issue as temporary and support all industry uses of helium, whether it's to provide a life-saving medical procedure, a job or a symbol of joy and celebration.
Yesterday my helium supplier told me, "None available"
Yikes! I knew it was bad but this bad? For a minute, I felt a sense of panic since I had a large order upcoming for two large arches to celebrate a homecoming event at my favorite high school, the one my youngest daughter graduated from. Solution? Frames and air filled that's what!
Thank God, I continue to grow my experience with ongoing balloon education and networking with fellow balloon artists world wide.
Sin City Balloons will continue to provide gifts & deliveries with innovative new air-filled designs. Check us out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sincityballoons
There's a helium shortage worldwide and balloon artists everywhere have been feeling it's effect since the price of helium has skyrocketed. Helium is a huge part of our balloon art and our business so decorators everywhere have been exploring new and exciting ways to do without helium and still sell a polished product. So what's our solution?
Come up with air filled designs that's what!
Fortunately, the balloon arts community is very generous with their knowledge and expertise and are sharing new and innovative ideas on how to create world class decor WITHOUT using helium.
Keep checking in with us to see how we are doing.
What to do with outdoor decor when it's really HOT outside? Try air filled balloon creations. They are really the only type of decor that works in the heat of Las Vegas, NV and even then it's a challenge. We're going through a helium challenge right now and costs are rising considerably.
Many balloon decorators are turning more and more to air filled designs because it just makes sense. Yesterday I made two balloon buddies for my dear friends twin daughters graduation. They were amazingly beautiful and each stood about 6 ft. tall. They were completely air filled. Sin City Balloons is doing it's part to adapt, adjust, and overcome. Balloons are not just about a balloon on a string, they are a wonderful medium to create beautiful art!
The adventure begins!
I'm so excited to be going to the World Balloon Convention in Dallas, TX this next week. Van & I are signed up for all kinds of amazing classes from outdoor decor to balloon dolls and dress weaving.
I know my mind will be spinning with a thousand and one new ideas! Investing in my future, my balloon expertise, and my business is my primary goal so that I can offer to you, my clients the most innovative and exciting new designs.
Talk to you soon!