A Wilmington adult store is left wondering why it is being forced to close
The city has closed the doors on a Wilmington adult entertainment store, despite the fact that similar shops operate less than a half a mile away.
“If we’re in violation, I know the other stores are,” said Jeanne Sutton, Intimate Bliss manager.
Intimate Bliss was slapped with a zoning violation in November. Sutton said about 6 months ago, 16 detectives, policemen and city zoning people spent four days inside the store, investigating; taking with them DVD’s and other merchandise. After putting up a six month fight, its owner decided to give in and shut down.
The business was called to the city’s attention by a citizen complaint. “In this particular case, the business had said they were going to be a lingerie store, not an adult establishment,” said Malissa Talbert, Wilmington spokesperson.
According to city zoning laws, adult establishments are not allowed in that area of the city, yet there are at least four adult stores within two miles of Intimate Bliss; and some as close as half a mile away.
Intimate Bliss had been, licensed and operating here for more than two years. But what is classified as an adult establishment gets a little tricky. “You’re not only looking at the type of materials, but how much and where within the business. So there are a number of different nuances, you almost have to look at each case individually,” Talbert said.
Still, some even use adult as a selling point along the stretch of Market Street. Malissa Talbert said it may just be as simple as less retail space is devoted to adult materials, or maybe other stores are even operating illegally and just haven’t been caught.
In the meantime, Jeanne Sutton said, the city has required Intimate Bliss to shut its doors on or before March 31st. “It’s been really sad. We’ve been here a long time, we have a lot of regulars, and when we tell them what’s happening, they say what about the other places, you know?”
As part of the agreement, Intimate Bliss is not allowed to advertise a going out of business sale. Instead, it must say it is closing because the store violated the city’s zoning codes.
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