The Birth of the Loudest Store in the Mall It all started in 1988. A ton of teen retail accessory stores littered the malls, but there weren't any cool, music-inspired accessory destinations for both guys and girls. Enter Hot Topic. As 1990 rolled around, adding apparel seemed like a no-brainer, so we brought in the ultimate music fan essential: band T-shirts. Customers flipped when they walked into Hot Topic stores and saw Bauhaus, The Cure, TSOL, and Depeche Mode rock tees. Within a year, we offered about 50 different band titles, along with rock-inspired clothing lines like Lip Service and Serious. As we continued to expand, we discovered that our customers were also drawn to the underground cartoon, cult movie, and comic book scenes, so we brought the world of South Park, Care Bears, Superman, SpongeBob and tons of other pop icons right to them! In 1996, with about 60 teen retail stores, Hot Topic became a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ stock exchange, under the symbol HOTT. Today, Hot Topic offers band-related apparel and accessories, licensed merchandise, and fashion apparel and accessories, which you can find at more than 600 stores (check out our store locator to find the location nearest you!) and online at www.hottopic.com. Nearly 25 years since our founding, you can still feel the passion for music and pop culture in everything we do: in our stores, at HQ, in our distribution centers and in our products.