I am proud to call Iowa City my home — or I was until I tried to start my own retail shop. With years of retail experience, I thought I would be welcomed by a community that prides itself on supporting small businesses. If what I was hoping to provide from my shop was not needed, or already readily available, I would gladly show my support through my patronage.
What I want is to open a shop that is welcoming to our whole adult community. My business concept is simple: Sell adult toys, books, candles, bath products, and more, in a homey, warm, inclusive and inviting space.
I have imagined an area of the shop where you can kick back on the couch and leaf through the latest in lusty literature. Or, you can browse through our selection of vibrators, artisan glass dildos, quality leather harnesses, and paddles. I feel that I have covered a wide range of people, including acquaintances and close personal friends, and they all agree that this is needed and lacking in the Iowa City area.
So, I have the concept, the financial backing, the experience in retail sales, and the passion. What could be the problem, then? I have been continually turned down by property owners and managers. They are so scared of what my shop might include that they are not even willing to give me a chance. Sexuality and sexual material itself is seen as the source of problems out in the world … We all know the many ways kids learn that sex is bad.
This is harmful enough. But what reason are kids given for sex being bad? And sadly, many continue doing so after they grow up. It will give them back the confidence to fully be themselves, which will in turn make them a happier person. Just as coming out of the closet for gay people allows them to fully live their lives, so does giving people the tools to their own safe, sexual pleasure.
I believe that the Iowa City community has the means to support this type of business. I believe that there are others right here in my community who understand and support the need for a healthy sex life. So if you share my vision to make this a part of our community, please make your voice heard. Send your support here to the papers, or speak with the business owners of shops you patronize, or ask the local property owners to allow space for you to be comfortable and at home when purchasing something that is so individual and personal to each person.