ANGRY, YOUNG AND POOR began as an independent punk store on North Prince Street in Lancaster PA in 1995 by Jeff and John (myself).  We’ve known each other since pre-kindergarten and have been into punk rock since the early 80s when our older brothers, neighborhood punks, college radio DJs and local punk shop owners turned us onto what good music sounded like.

When one of those local punk stores closed doors in 1994 we lamented the loss of the only place in town to get decent music (not to mention shirts and other stuff).  After a few beers one evening we began to fantasize about what would be the perfect record store, and thus the idea for AYP was born.  Neither of us had any other serious career opportunities lined up so we figured, why not?  If it didn’t work out we could always return to manual labor.

A friend’s Dad was our mentor for the first year or so.  Neither of us had business experience, only punk rock experience, and he helped us ask and answer the many questions needed to help get AYP off the ground.  We pooled what little money we had and borrowed from family to cover start-up expenses, found the North Prince Street location, spent a few months redecorating, ordering inventory, building display stuff and promoting, and opened our doors on Black Friday, November 25, 1995.

The name Angry, Young and Poor comes from a song by the Damned, Lively Arts “culture’s just a bore when you’re Angry, Young and Poor”.  Jeff’s brother had Angry, Young and Poor written on his chuck taylors in the mid-80s, and I guess the phrase stuck with us.

We built a mailing list from our customers and ads in MRR and in 1997 we assembled our first cut-and-paste catalogue.  We soon discovered that there are thousands of small towns like Lancaster that are not lucky enough to have a punk store.  We sent out a few more catalogues, but catalogues were difficult because of the limited nature of punk rock merchandise.  Often by the time the catalogue was ready to ship, half of the stuff in the catalogue would be sold out and no longer available.

Thank you to the genius who thought up the internet.  We launched our first website about 1998 and that quickly became the main way we reached you people.  Our last catalogue was printed in 2001.  Since that time we’ve redone our website several times and it continues to be the main way we bring punk rock to the masses.


Posted February 24, 2017 by si in Personalities, Shopping

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