SUMMERSIDE — An adult novelty and smoke shop that stirred controversy in the capital city, prompting some to call for its closure, is setting up shop in Summerside.
Taboo Company, on its website, indicated earlier this year it would be locating to the western city.
Owner Chaylon Brewster confirmed Thursday that a Summerside location is coming, adding the opening date and location are not yet determined.
“We are hoping to be open before the end of the year but we don’t have a location picked out yet,” Brewster said in a telephone interview from his Charlottetown store. “It’s another market on Prince Edward Island. It’s the second biggest market.”
Summerside’s lone adult novelty store, in operation at its location on the All Weather Highway for more than 13 years, closed earlier this summer.
The Summerside Taboo Company location will be Brewster’s second store. He also has plans for a third in Nova Scotia.
The Charlottetown store, open less than two months, is a full-featured adult novelty store and smoke shop that sells sex toys, lingerie and paraphernalia such as pipes, hookahs and scales.
Its opening prompted a public outcry, with those opposed upset with close proximity to schools and homes.
The issue went to council, and the city’s planning board found no legal reason to ban the sex shop. The board, which recommended that council accept a development agreement application from the business, did indicate it would control what children could see in the shop windows.
Brewster said the controversy in the capital didn’t have any bearing on his decision to open a Summerside location.
He doesn’t think there will be any resistance to the store.
“Summerside is very good to small business,” added Brewster. “We definitely don’t think we are going to run into the same sort of issues there, especially that there has been an adult novelty store there in the past.”
After the Charlottetown store opened, residents voiced concern about the shop’s location, upset the business would be allowed to open in their neighbourhood.
The building housing Charlottetown’s Taboo Company is one of several in the city that has been grandfathered into its zoning bylaws, allowing it to be operated as a commercial business although the structure is located in a residential area.
“We’re following all legal guidelines,” said Brewster. “We had the health department in and they gave given us the go ahead to be able to operate our business.
“We’re not doing anything wrong here.”
He added, “We are open not even two blocks from another adult novelty store that was open for 10 years.”
Brewster said a small number of people were upset with his store and its location, adding, “They were misinformed by a letter that circulated that said we sold tobacco products in our windows as well as adult toys that were in our windows.”
That, he added, is untrue.
Brewster pointed out that many of the items his store carries can be found in box stores or at local drug stores, many of which are located close to schools and are frequented by children.
Open since June 4 in Charlottetown, business has been great, he added. Six people are employed at that location.
In Summerside, he hopes to find an adequate space downtown to house the store, somewhere easily accessible for customers, and to employ four to six people.
With files from The Guardian