Denver just lost one of its best: Please, Plants, Westword’s 2022 pick for Best Adult Store
, closed its doors at 226 East 13th Avenue on September 30. But sibling stores Recital and Recital, Still are still blooming in RiNo.
Olivia Meininger, who grew up in Denver and has a background in fashion design and art history, opened Please, Plants
in January 2021. She’d run Queen City General Store
across the alley between Grant and Sherman streets on East 13th for the previous five years and was already working on creating Recital
in the alleyway behind Denver Central Market, to continue Queen City General Store’s legacy of offering clothing and accessories from up-and-coming sustainable designers.
When the Please, Plants space became available for sublease, she jumped at the chance to create something new. “We just kind of concepted what we wanted to do there,” Meininger says. “Then we knew we were going to splinter off and open Recital down in RiNo, and for that to be our main clothing shop, and for Please to be like plants and jewelry and sex. We just kind of wanted to do something immersive and fun and different.”
And different it was. The store often lured customers off the sidewalk with a sign advertising “Bongs & Thongs.” Inside, customers found not just bongs and thongs, but a selection of sex toys — including “spiritual” vibrators made from crystals — as well as lingerie, cannabis paraphernalia, jewelry and plants.
Grouping plants, jewelry and sex just made sense to Meininger and her staff. “I always really wanted to mix all of my different interests,” she says. “There's so much beauty in all of those things, so everything kind of just goes together.”
Three months after Please, Plants made its debut, Meininger opened Recital. And when a friend wanted to move on from a space across the alleyway, Meininger took over that lease, opening Recital, Still, which sells plants, books and gifts.
But owning three stores during the pandemic, along with being a mother of two, made Meininger begin to feel like Please, Plants wasn’t getting the attention it deserved.
“We've always had such a great community over there, because Queen City literally was right next door,” she says. “We just were stretched a little too thin to be able to keep everything up to our standards. It's really hard to have something that is not as good as it should be. On a personal level, I know me and my staff were just feeling like we couldn't ever get our heads above water. Like we could never get to a place where we could have a new idea and see it to fruition.”
She looked into transferring Please, Plants to one of her employees. But when she approached the landlord about moving the lease over, she recalls, the landlord said the lease wouldn't be renewed for a space that involved sex toys or marijuana.
So Meininger closed Please, Plants and now plans to focus her attention on the two shops in RiNo. She isn’t sure how much of the merchandise at Please, Plants will transfer over to her Recital outposts, but promises that the company will always carry sexual wellness items, lingerie and some sex toys, even if not every sexy or marijuana-related product makes the leap.
“We just kind of have to decide what there's space for and what works,” she says. “Please was so irreverent and fun, and we could do whatever we want. Which, still, we can. We just have to see.”
Recital is located at 1362 27th Street in the pedestrian alley behind Denver Central Market. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday and Monday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Recital, Still is next door.