Arts & Culture News

How the Bernie Sanders Meme Helped an Oak Cliff Party Supply Shop Stay Afloat

Oak Cliff's ABC Party Supply HQ is really feeling the Bern.
Oak Cliff's ABC Party Supply HQ is really feeling the Bern. Elvie De La Fuente
If you haven’t grown tired of the Bernie Sanders meme, in which the senator is wearing mittens and a large jacket at the inauguration of President Joe Biden, it’s not too late to add to your collection of memorabilia. At ABC Party HQ, you can order a piñata stylized as Sanders at the inauguration.

ABC owner Carlos De La Fuente was inspired to create this piñata after watching the inauguration.

“I saw Bernie on the hill, with his nice mittens, and I saw the rest of the country just taking off with it,” De La Fuente says. “Coffee mugs, T-shirts, hats. Since I make piñatas, I figured ‘Why don’t I just go ahead and make a piñata?’ I had no idea how it was going to pan out.”

While De La Fuente says he tries to stay out of politics, he admires Sanders and appreciates his political efforts.

Over the course of the past two weeks, De La Fuente says he has received over 120 orders for the Sanders piñatas. As a business owner, De La Fuente likes to keep current with memes and internet trends. His piñatas include figures of SpongeBob and Dora The Explorer, but he also makes an effort to appeal to older generations.

A few years ago, ABC Party HQ gained widespread attention as one of the first shops offering piñatas in the likeness of then-presidential hopeful Donald Trump. They also sold Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama piñatas — though Trump piñatas were in much higher demand. Last year, one of the shop's most popular products was a piñata in the shape of a coronavirus.

“My business is a business of bringing people joy,” De La Fuente says, “so I try to find some kind of way to bring joy to people.”

“My business is a business of bringing people joy ... so I try to find some kind of way to bring joy to people.” – ABC Party HQ owner Carlos De La Fuente

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One may think that memes may have a shorter shelf life in the day and age of Twitter and TikTok. But fortunately for De La Fuente, the image of Sanders at the inauguration has quickly become iconic and demand for the piñata continues even as the memes stop flooding our newsfeeds.

De La Fuente says orders on the Sanders piñata poured in, so don’t expect any piñatas inspired by The Weeknd’s Super Bowl performance — or any other meme subject — anytime soon.

“I’ve been in this particular place for 30 years, and we are so overwhelmed with Bernie Sanders right now,” De La Fuente says, “that in order for me to fulfill the orders that I've committed to for this next week, it's almost impossible for me to stop. Especially because my product needs sun to dry and with our weather being the way it's going to be for the next seven days, it's impossible for me to stop the production on Bernie.”

ABC Party HQ also offers a variety of tableware and party decorations. Granted, it's been a long time since we’ve been able to throw parties, mass gatherings or even feel festive, but De La Fuente says the Oak Cliff community has greatly helped to keep the store afloat.

While 2020 took a toll on small businesses, and 2021 looks to be almost equally as challenging, De La Fuente is grateful for the outpouring of support he has received in these difficult times.

“The community has changed, but it's always been very supportive of our business,” De La Fuente says. “When they see our small businesses struggling, everybody comes together and supports our business in one way or another.”
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Alex Gonzalez has been a contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2018. He is a Dallas native whose work has appeared in Local Profile, MTV News and the Austin American-Statesman. He has eclectic taste in music and enjoys writing about art, food and culture.
Contact: Alex Gonzalez