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March 5, 2019
Steve Murray: Lancaster’s Vintage Soul
In life, you meet people who leave a lasting impression. People who inspire you and challenge you. We met Steve Murray at a Lancaster City DID meeting 14 years ago when we pitched this crazy idea called Fig. He asked all the hard questions, shook his fist, and challenged every notion. Then he became one of our biggest advocates. He had a fierce passion for our beloved city and we will always consider him the Godfather of Lancaster. Here is Steve, our Fig Authentic circa 2010.
Zap & Company, an anchor for the 300 block of North Queen Street, may be most well known to city inhabitants for Hilda, the stylish sidewalk mannequin who has been standing guard for over 20 years. To those in the know, Zap is a mecca for one-of-a-kind retro fashions that offer a stylishly unique, cool quotient. Step inside the shop and you’re likely to meet the energy behind the enterprise — a tall slender man with a thick mustache and long hair pulled back in a ponytail. Steve Murray, owner and operator of Zap & Company.
With a passion for vintage and an eye for design, Steve has cultivated a unique collection of clothing, barware, accessories, books, albums and movie posters for more than 30 years. Reviews from Zap visitors rave and customers come regularly from New York City and Washington, DC to scan the racks and comb the aisles. Zap’s niche collection has been a resource to the film industry for decades. Apparel and accessories from this local, vintage clothing gem has appeared in an impressive collection of both independent and big budget films. Beginning with a handful of Woody Allen films, a few of John Waters’ finest films, “The Natural” starring Robert Redford, and leading to more contemporary movies like James Cameron’s “Titanic,” “Girl Interrupted” with Angelina Jolie, Mike Myers “Austin Powers” films and more. As one of the oldest retro department stores in the nation, Zap & Company’s name reaches as far as Hollywood.
While his influence is far-reaching, it is a passion for our local community that helps keep Steve rooted. What many don’t know is how Steve Murray is committed to championing for the betterment of the City of Lancaster. He’s been an officer in the Merchant’s Association, chaired the Special Events committee and led a collaborative group of retailers on the 300 block to advocate for city beautification. He was pivotal in leading the fight to preserve the Watt and Shand building from being demolished, by developing an unlikely coalition with local doctors, lawyers, retailers, residents and a former mayor, which ultimately led to a preserved facade and an an exciting new enterprise in the city. His energy for the City of Lancaster is unfailing and always taking a new form. By consistently putting his efforts into improving Lancaster, he has helped to make this a place where locals and tourists can enjoy spending time and, “discovering Downtown.” In reflecting on recent city events, he mentions the Keys for the City piano located at the corner of Queen and Walnut, and how its placement, as well as the initiative behind it, was the culmination of what he has worked so hard for all those years. He recalls how one night a few months ago, as the sun was beginning to set, someone stopped at the piano and began to play a beautiful tune. Steve says he stopped what he was doing, made his way to the storefront and listened to the music fill the block. It was one of those rare moments he was able to sit back and appreciate the spoils of all his hard work in helping the city he loves become more than it was when he first opened his own city doors.
When asked about Steve Murray, the Mayor Gray replied, “Steve Murray represents the ‘metro and retro’ of the City of Lancaster. His shop, Zap & Company, is a fixture on the funky 300 block of North Queen Street... He and his shop embody the phrase; ‘Everything old is new again’.”