American Apparel was a clothes store on Harden Street, next to the old Hiller Hardware. I gather that it served the young, hip, crowd, which is, um, not me.
In fact, for years, I didn't even know where the store was, just that it had a series of mildly risque ads on the back page of the local alternative weekly, The Free Times. These were constant fodder for the paper's Rant & Rave feature, as here, for instance.
When I went by on Saturday 5 Feb, there was still music playing from the store's door speakers, and two guys hanging around like they were supposed to be loading stuff out of there but couldn't get inside.
Doing a little googling turns of the surprising (to me) fact that American Apparel (AMEX: APP) is the largest clothing manufacturer in the United States.. They also seem to have had a good bit of financial trouble in their retail arm lately, as detailed in this WSJ piece and this "Open Market" piece (which also has an image of an ad they could never have run in Columbia..)
The company's web site goes even farther with ads -- DEFINITELY NSFW!
(Hat tip to commenter Jennifer)
UPDATE 12 September 2011 -- The follow-on operation, Urban Thread & More is open, and apparently has been at least since 16 April 2011: