It was January 1st, 2005 when Amy Leonard was let go from her job in the restaurant industry. The day that many were starting their New Year resolutions and new beginnings, the New York native was faced with a crossroads of unemployment or pursuing her passion and making her dream a reality. More than 12 years later, Amy is the owner of Retro Active at Broadway at the Beach; the shop for rock fans of yesteryear and consumers of classic movie and television memorabilia.
Check out our Q & A with Amy:
1.) Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from originally? How long have you been in Myrtle Beach?
"I am from Skaneateles, New York, a little Finger lakes town in upstate NY, near Syracuse. I went to college in Rochester, NY and from there moved to Virginia Beach. I moved to MB in July of 2004."
2.) We know women don't typically like to tell their age, but what decade of rock were you born in?
"Let's just say that I was on high school in the 80s!"
3.) What is your favorite genre of music and why?
"Can't really say that I have a favorite genre, I obviously have a great fondness for the "glam" or "hair" bands from the 80s. But I am also a big fan of the pop music that came from the 80s too. Duran Duran, Adam Ant, journey etc."
4.) List your top 5 favorite artists if all time:
"Journey, Motley Crue, Aerosmith, Prince, The J Geils Band. My first concert was July 25, 1981: Headeast, Good Rats and Todd Hobin. My first big concert was Journey with Steve Perry on the Escape tour October 9, 1981 at the Syracuse Carrier Dome and the ticket cost $9.50!!"
5.) List your top 5 favorite songs of all time:
"New York Groove- Ace Frehley, Godzilla- Blue Oyster Cult, Dixie Highway- Journey, Fantasy- Aldo Nova, Lunatic Fringe- Red Rider"
6.) How many concerts have you been to? Name some of your favorites:
"I have every ticket stub from every concert that I have been to (that still had actual tickets). So I have tickets for about 350 concerts. But that doesn't really cover how many bands I have seen. Festivals really changed the game for me.
I did Rocklahoma in 2007, 2008 and 2009, Rock in America in 2010, The M3 Rock Festival from 2010 -2017, Farm Rock Nashville in 2016, Monsters of Rock cruises 2012-2017, the one next week will be my 7th MOR cruise. All of these feature anywhere from 20-40 bands over the course of 2-5 days. Favorite would be: Journey back in 1981, Prince on the Purple Rain tour, The J Geils Band, Zebra, Motley Crue on the Shout at The Devil Tour, Adam Ant, and Billy Idol."
7.) Tell us a little bit about the history of Retro Active:
"The idea of the store began forming back in 2004 when Motley Crue reunited and went on tour. I wished that I still had all the shirts I had bought at the shows back in the 80s (and paid $8-$10 for!!). I began looking around for stores to buy a Motley Crue shirt...there just weren't any. From music shirts, we expanded on the idea to include all those cool things we had in the 80s, along with the TV shows and the awesome movies. On January 1, 2005, I got laid off from the job I moved here for and decided that now was the perfect time to make the dream a reality. We opened May 2, 2005. Retro Active celebrated 12 years at Broadway, last May and I have just signed a new lease for 7 more years."
8.) If you could meet any artist from past or present, who would it be?
"Through the store, I have met so many very cool people. I would have said Steve Perry from Journey, but since he actually came in to the store back in 2007 and I got to meet him, I would have to say I would have loved to have met Prince.
We have had at the store Steven Adler from Guns N Roses, John Corabi from Motley Crue, Mili Matijevic from Steelheart, Faster Pussycat, La Guns with Tracii Guns, and Bang Tango. We have done book signings with Lydia Criss, Bobby Blotzer from Ratt and a huge one with Eddie Trunk. We also and Jim Florentine from That Metal Show and he is a standup comedian.
Alice Cooper and his band just wandered in while they were in town. One of the most fun was, when we first opened Wendy the Snapple Lady came in! She was in town for a Pez convention."
9.) Tell us about the Rock cruise you are going on? How many music cruises have you been on and where do you go on them?
"Monsters of Rock is the name of the Cruise. Out of 7 cruises, all have gone out of Florida, except for one, back in October, we went out of LA. (I got off the boat to find out a huge hurricane was heading toward Myrtle Beach...not the news I was hoping for!!). The ports have been places like Key West, Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Catalina Island, some private island and this trip we are hitting Cozumel, and Grand Cayman. But it isn't so much about the ports, some people don't even get off the boat. Bands play most of the day and well into the night. While in port, they do meet n greets and Q&As etc., So even in port there is stuff going on, on the ship. You also never know what Rock Star you might run into, wandering around the boat.
The cruises have been the most fun vacations I have ever been on. You need a vacation from your vacation when you get home, but they are so much fun."
10.) What's the most unique item in Retro Active? (Music or non-music related)
"Most unique item I carry would be the Pink Floyd and Grateful Dead baby strollers!!"
11.) What is your favorite item in Retro Active?
"My Luke's Diner shirt!! (Gilmore Girls) and my Captain Caveman tote bag."
12.) Is there anything else you would like us to pass to the patrons of Broadway?
"We offer a 15% local, military and Broadway discount year round."