NEWS July 19th, 2012

By Karolyn Coorsh

Passions aroused by planned erotica shop

Is Lawrence Park ready for a 'romantic gift boutique'?

The large heart-shaped decal on a store window is the only clue things are about to heat up in Lawrence Park.

Erotica retailer Lovedreamer.com is slated to open shop in a former dress boutique on Yonge Street, just north of Briar Hill Avenue.

The latest addition to the neighbourhood is providing fodder for local talk, but some among the stroller-pushing population aren’t exactly thrilled with the news.

Lovedreamer.com co-owner Adam DePass wants to quell any fears the store will be of a tawdry nature in the family-friendly neighbourhood.

“I think people may have a lot of misconceptions about what we’re doing here,” he said.

Contrary to the online business, which boasts every Triple-X product and video imaginable, the store will not be a novelty sex shop, but a “romantic gift boutique,” he said.

“It’s a clean, classy, upscale shop. It’s not going to be anything people will think twice about, or be embarrassed to buy.”

The focus, he said, is on tame but high-end lingerie, massage oils, and books (of the erotic fiction and how-to variety).

No phallic-shaped gadgets here, DePass stressed. Nor will they carry erotic videos.

But store shelves won’t be limited to lace teddies and scented candles.

Fetish gear, for instance, will be available for purchase but on display in discreet packaging. Same goes for “medical-grade silicone vibrating massagers” and other pleasure products.

DePass said the storefront window will be tasteful and visually accepting.

Salacious or not, it’s who will be looking at the displays and asking questions that has some locals wondering if this is the best place for Lovedreamer.com.

While mom of two Trish Fox said it’s healthy to discuss sex with children, as a parent, she’d prefer to do it on her own terms — without prompting from the neighbourhood erotica shop.

“If I have to explain something to my daughter about what she’s seen in the window display as we walk by, I won’t be very happy,” Fox said, when the storefront was pointed out by the Town Crier.

Another woman on the street says it doesn’t matter how you dress it up — it’s still an unwanted sex shop.

“No matter what sophisticated (items) they have in their storefront, to me, it just seems seedy,” she said.

Clothing store owner Sharon Mazelow said she has yet to hear any complaints about her soon-to-be next-door neighbours.

But, even if there’s interest, DePass may still have a tough sell on his hands.

“I don’t know how the women are going to take it in this area,” Mazelow said. “If they’ll be embarrassed to go in or not.”

DePass admitted the website currently advertised on the front window is sending the wrong message to the neighbourhood.

So people don’t get the wrong idea, the company is looking to develop a separate online page devoted to products available at the Yonge Street location.

This will be the second storefront for the North York-based company, which operates out of a warehouse and shop on Martin Ross Way near Finch Avenue W. and Dufferin Street.

DePass and co-owner Jeff Walton started the venture online in 2003, and the business took off, DePass said. They moved to the warehouse and opened the North York storefront in 2005.

DePass said they signed the lease for the Yonge Street address in July and are planning for an August grand opening.