No Duh! South Philly Store Latchkey’s Da Bomb for ’80s and ’90s Nostalgia
The newly opened East Passyunk shop carries classic vinyl records, pop-culture collectibles, upcycled clothing and more.
It doesn’t matter if you grew up listening to Wu-Tang, Britney or Nirvana; children of the ’80s and ’90s universally unite over a shared love of the culture of their youth. Gen Xers and millennials look back on the era before iPods and wi-fi through rose-colored Oakleys, longing for those simpler days. But you don’t need a DeLorean to relive it all. Just stop by Latchkey on East Passyunk Avenue, where not only are the ’80s and ’90s alive and well, but you’ll be able to replace all the mementos once stashed in your childhood closet that your parents tossed away as soon as you moved out.
Owner Marc Faletti took inspiration for his shop from his prior career as a DJ. “There was always that certain set of songs that would pack a dance floor,” he says. “Blondie or Biggie or Britney, it all came back to the ’80s and ’90s. That was always at the heart of what people would enjoy. I wanted to design a whole store around that feeling and extend it to other forms of pop culture as well.”
Music is central to the shop, where you’ll find a thoughtfully curated section of classic ’80s and ’90s albums across genres along with newer indie artists. Holy Motors, Body of Light and Blu, for example, are modern acts people may not have heard of yet but that lovers of ’80s and ’90s sounds will appreciate. A listening station at the front of the store (could it BE more ’90s?!) lets you try before you buy.
And unlike at some record stores, there’s not an ounce of snobbery to be found. “We unapologetically feature artists like Britney,” Faletti says. “We’re not trying to put out an energy that says Britney Spears record shoppers aren’t welcome here. If that’s your jam, it’s our jam, too.” In fact, his top-selling records are currently those of Britney, the Fugees, and Alanis Morissette.
But Latchkey is more than a record store. It’s got an assortment of giftable items ranging from soaps and bath bombs designed around movies of the era (a Spice World bath bomb, for example) to custom candles inspired by famous movie quotes and song lyrics (like “Rain, Against My Window”) in collaboration with Mount Airy Candle Company. You’ll find reasonably priced vintage jewelry, games (Ouija board, anyone?), turntables, collectibles, books on music history, and even a line of upcycled clothing, Lyrical Vintage, that features song lyrics pressed on, for one-of-a-kind art pieces. Faletti’s favorite items in the store include a live box set of Prince’s 1985 concert in Syracuse and a Death Star cutting board.
Obviously, millennials and Gen Xers are excited about Latchkey, but Faletti has been delighted to find Gen Z embracing the shop as well. “The ’80s and ’90s were an era before the constant hum of digital life took over. It was an era that felt more physical, visceral, tangible,” he says. “It’s really appealing to folks to listen to albums that were meant to be listened to as albums. It’s a time when a lot of people shared cultural touch points even across ages and demography that, for better or worse sometimes, can be tough for us to recapture now.”
Vibrant East Passyunk, with its wealth of independent shops and supportive community, seems a perfect fit for this quirky addition. “It’s always been a great place to hang out, and there’s a lot of new energy coming in,” Faletti says. “It feels like that vitality has really been returning as we hopefully find our way out of the pandemic.”
Latchkey is located at 1502 East Passyunk Avenue. It’s currently open Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.