The Cramp originally opened in 1988 at the start of the Grunge period. 
From humble beginnings and a shoestring budget, Carl rented a small space in the Alley Building on Broadway.  It was an old bowling alley years ago but now a small 2 level mini mall.   
With only small team of 3 the business quickly became one of Seattle’s most talked about alternative stores. 
The Cramp store offered Doc Martens for the best price for any style and quickly started the Doc Marten price war that spread across the country back in the early 90s.   Major corporations like Nordstrom had their reps come into our shops to see what styles were popular and matched our prices.   
We carried lines such as Lip Service, Tripp, Dog Pile, Used Levis and Biker Jackets and much more.   
Our customers were mostly Seattle alternative scene clients and many of them were in bands that started here in the area.  Famous band members such as Ann and Nancy Wilson, Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, and all the grunge bands here in the area you can name of that were here in Seattle all came to our store at the time to buy their plaid shirts, Levis, leather collars and  Doc Martens.  Being an upstairs store facing the street it was sometime hard to get people to know we existed in the beginning so we decided to do live window shows from Dancers, Burlesque and the all famous Drag Shows which ended up becoming one of the biggest forms of marketing we could have ever dreamed of having.  With loud speakers on Friday and Saturday evenings outside our window on the 2nd floor people would wait around Broadway for it to get dark and the show to begin.  This created some what of a huge problem with cars on the street as Broadway for 30 Minutes as traffic would come to a standstill with everyone watching the show.   There were 2 shows nightly and a 20 min. break in between which helped get traffic to move again.   
The police department tried to shut us down,  the city tried to revoke our license started we were a public nuisance but we just claimed we were doing live window displays which (unless we were a sex shop) was legal to do in the city.   We were on every news channel, every radio station at the time.   It was fun but eventually the street started to change. Doc Martens were now being controlled by Sketchers and we were unable to sustain keeping stock.  The mall got sold and soon after rents more then doubled leaving me to close the store and end that chapter.  
Now in 2022 as we continue to cater to the new generation of alternative, goth and club customers we find ourselves outgrowing our street store.  The pandemic has made businesses in the Alley Building (in the mall next door to us) close its doors and one by one these old Cramp spaces started becoming available yet again.  We rented 2 of the spaces for our online operations and our processing center but as more and more spaces became empty we decided to make the decision to expand our retail store into these empty spaces.  As we were struggling to figure out what to call the new stores it was more then fitting to bring back The Cramp as parents who presently bring their kids to shop on Broadway at our main store (The New York Xchange) that have lived in the city for years would start to talk about back in the 90s they would shop at this cool store upstairs next door.  They would always mention The Cramp by name and share the stories they have when they were young from it. 
We decided it would just be the right thing to do by calling it The Cramp again and to bring that legacy back.  All though we do not carry Doc Martens we do now have the most current alternative brands of shoes such as Demonia, YRU and TUK shoes and Boots. 
Our clothing is still catering to the alternative customers with brands such as Kill Star, Dark in Love, Tripp, Lip Service, Pentagramme, Punk Rave, Devils Fashion, Alchemy, Black Craft, and more.