East Austin piñata store closes 5 years after igniting citywide gentrification debate
In February 2015, Jumpolin, an East Austin piñata and party supply store, was unceremoniously demolished, igniting a debate about gentrification that gripped the city for weeks. At the time, Jumpolin's owners, Sergio and Monica Lejarazu, alleged that they did not know the store — along with their livelihood — was going to be destroyed.
“I was driving by like any other day, taking my daughter to school,” Sergio told CultureMap in 2015. “That’s when I saw it: my life’s work under the bulldozer.”
In the months and years that followed, the store would reopen a few blocks east at 2605 E. Cesar Chavez St. and a new business, a controversial cafe catering to cat lovers, opened in the original location. That cafe is now closed, and now Jumpolin is saying goodbye after more than a decade.
"It’s no secret that Austin is changing rapidly, and that the primarily working class community that once supported our business is dwindling fast, pushed further and further out," the Lejarazu family wrote on the store's Facebook page on Monday, January 20.
"We have seen throughout the years the way our Chicano, immigrant, Black, and working class neighbors of all backgrounds have been forced out of their homes and businesses due to inability to pay the continuously increasing rents, property taxes, and simply not being able to afford the new wave of luxurious and expensive amenities. These amenities do not cater to the working class that once thrived on the East Side, and have fueled the ongoing displacement of our community," the post continues.
The family also says that though the storefront will close by the end of January, Jumpolin will continue as a custom-order piñata and party rental business. Customers can continue patronizing the business by following it on social media via @jumpolinparty.