Adult novelty store stirs debate

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

A state of pandemonium was unleashed this weekend as word spread like wildfire that new establishment Adam and Eve was cited for displaying and selling ‘anatomically correct’ adult novelties and that all novelties were removed from the racks and placed in a store closet.

South Padre Island City Manager William DiLibero started at the beginning and said, “When the property owner and manager first brought the idea of an Adam and Eve store to our attention we sat down with them and went line by line through Chapter 24 (Sexually Oriented Business) of the city ordinance.” He said.

“They told us that they would only be selling bathing suits, lingerie and only products that could be bought in a regular pharmacy. We made it clear that anything anatomically correct would not be allowed,” he said.

Shortly after the Adam and Eve opened DiLibero began receiving concerned emails, he said. “This is a certified retirement community. A lot of people are retired and want to have a safe and quiet environment where no adult type things are going on — even Spring Break. At the POWC (Property Owners Who Care) meeting it was discussed to stop allowing alcohol on the beach. There is an interest in maintaining the quiet,” he said.

Local Facebook pages were exploding with commentary about the fiasco. South Padre Island Talk (SPIT) displayed a posting with over 500 comments from individuals supporting Adam and Eve, including all novelties, with none opposed.

Island local Bill Forrest was among the commenters. “For the City of South Padre Island to prohibit business instead of support it is hard for me to fathom,” he said.

“If laws were broken then help the business to succeed by pointing those out or showing them how to do it correctly. But to see it attacked for its nature is just wrong. I live here and see far more that needs regulation than this.”

Echoing Forrest’s sentiments, local Carolyn Krska commented, “I think Adam & Eve is a wonderful addition to the South Padre Island community, bringing us a few choices and items we didn’t have before, the storefront itself is very tastefully done and anyone who didn’t know what they were looking for would never guess what’s inside.”

She continued, “I think Adam and Eve has been singled out, by persons who would have us believe that they are of superior moral fiber and intend to hold every resident and all visitors of S.P.I. to that false set of moral standards. Why is Adam and Eve being forced to remove body oils, personal lubricants and condoms and massage oils from view when these same items are available down the street at C.V.S. (a store that allows children inside) and Stripes and Wal-Mart (in Port Isabel) and any number of other businesses in our area.”

DiLibero laid down the law and the exact violation, saying, “By having the anatomically correct novelties the establishment falls under Sec. 24-2 of the city ordinance ‘Adult Novelty Shop’ which is defined as, ‘a commercial establishment which regularly sells products which are distinguished or characterized by an emphasis on matter intended to provide sexual stimulation or sexual gratification to the customer or which products depict, describe or relate to ‘specified sexual activities’ or ‘specific anatomical areas’,” he said.

He further clarified, “The actual violation is Sec. 24-4(d), ‘The operation of a sexually oriented businesses is prohibited on premises that are located within 150 feet of the right-of-way of Padre Boulevard.’”

Adam and Eve is located at 5517 Padre Boulevard.

Krska rebutted DiLibero’s statement by claiming, “If I can buy a device that is a massager at Wal-Mart or C.V.S. or a pipe shaped like a naked woman or a penis at Cloud 9, … Why can’t I buy these things at Adam and Eve a store that is pretty much dedicated to finding the enjoyable experiences of being an adult?”

Adam and Eve employee Dedra Skipworth shared her thoughts. “I performed a quick Google search of personal massagers at CVS and they sell all kinds of novelties. Including some very graphic ones. Some are even more anatomically correct than the ones that we sell.”

A manager at Adam and Eve voiced their side of the story in a statement, saying, “I’d like to start off by saying all of our merchandise was displayed when final inspections were done to receive the Certificate of Occupancy.”

“We respectfully researched the city codes and kept in mind the locals, as well as families, that live on the island & surrounding areas,” the statement continued, adding that the majority of the items for sale in thr store are lingerie, bathing suits and bacherloreete or bachelor party favors.

“Again, we are new to the island but have always kept the locals and families in mind from the start. We hope that the miscommunication with the city officials becomes resolved sooner than later and that fairness is given across the board.”

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