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      Helium's limited supply ups prices for distributors, customers

      Despite Amarillo being the "Helium Capital of the World," helium is in limited supply like so many other natural resources.

      Those planning to purchase balloons for upcoming Valentine's Day may pay more than expected. Distributors are paying more to get their tanks filled, which means their customers will also be charging more for the helium they sell.

      "The way they are allocating the helium now, hospitals and stuff like that are on the top of the list which is exactly where they belong," Donna's Helium and Balloon Owner Donna Ryan said. "Balloon helium is at the bottom."

      Le Fleur Florists and Gifts Owner Owner Susan Hobbs said her price has increased drastically.

      "Definitely affected prices- It's gone up as much as $30 to $50 for me."

      However, some distributors are not settling for selling their product at a higher cost.

      "I can get the helium. There's places in town that will fill my bottles," Ryan stated. "I don't want to do that because the price they quote me is the price that they will sell to other people. I just don't feel right in not telling them where they can get it for that price rather than up my price a little bit so I can make a little profit."

      Ryan said she fears the helium shortage will cause her to go out of business sooner than anticipated. But she also pointed out that helium is more crucial to hospitals than to florists, as helium is used with certain hospital equipment,

      "We need to be cautious and careful of what resources we have so that we can have it when people need it."