If you grew up in the ’90s, you spent all your time with friends walking around malls in baggy Jenco jeans and Vans sneakers. Your parents would take you and your friends in the family’s Honda Odyssey, and you’d use whatever allowance or loot you got selling Pogs to buy CDs, Manic Panic hair color, and nose rings. You’d most likely head over to Scream for some ridiculously wide-leg jeans and ginormous hoodies, Sam Goody for a punk rock or hip-hop CD single, Sun Coast Video for a VHS of a Tarantino flick, and then wrap things up with an overpriced pretzel at Auntie Anne’s. Indeed, these ’90s stores were everything.
And once you spent what little money you had left on an overpriced goth T-shirt at Hot Topic, you’d swing by a Sbarro in the food court. The day would ultimately end with you finding a payphone (Google it), calling collect to your parents, and saying “Come pick me up” so as to save them the cost of the call. But today’s Gen Z kids know not the struggle and glory that came with experiencing life in a world without e-commerce, smartphones, and social media.
With Amazon taking over everything, running a brick-and-mortar business — especially on a large scale — are all but obsolete. Hell, not even Toys “R” Us could be spared the death grip of Jeff Bezos. And due to the pandemic, a staggering number of beloved stores have closed for good. Although legendary 1990s stores have closed for good, they’re living rent-free in the minds of elder millennials and Gen Xers.
These are the ’90s stores from our childhood that we wish would come back.
Michael Hayne is a comedian, writer, voice artist, podcaster, and impressionist. Hist writing has appeared in Salon, Alternet, Raw Story, Investor's Observer, Addicting Info, Occupy Democrats, and many more. Hist comedy has been featured in Huffington Post, Funny or Die, and Sirius XM.