Denver lost Hysteria -- its women-friendly, sex-positive, non-toxic-educating, GLBT-welcoming sex-toy shop in February.
But a new store with the same philosophy, albeit from Minnesota, plans to open soon, just in time to fill that void.
The Smitten Kitten pioneered the idea of brightly-lit, women-friendly sex shops seven years ago, says Clare Jacky, a manager at the Minneapolis store. "It's a growing industry. More people are finding success having stores like this."
The owner, Jennifer Pritchett, is also the founder of the Coalition Against Toxic Toys, a nonprofit whose goal is "to demystify the adult sex toy industry and positively transform socially irresponsible, environmentally and personally hazardous sex toy manufacturing and sex toy sales practices."
The store is set to open at 70 Broadway on April 1, and Pritchett plans to have a grand opening celebration in late April to coincide with Earth Day.
For a Q&A with Jacky, look below:
Westword: Why are you opening in Denver?
Clare Jackie: The owner of the store, Jennifer Pritchett, has family in Denver and lived there until she was twelve, so she has roots in Denver and has always wanted to open a store there.
WW: What is "sex-positive"?
CJ: Sex positive means that when you are looking at sex and sexuality, it should be a positive, empowering process. The aesthetic of our store is very much like a boutique. It's clean and well-lit and beautiful and sunny. There is no back room. Everyone who works here is a sex educator, and you are greeted in and educated in a positive, affirming way.
WW: Who is welcome in your store?
CJ: Everyone. We have a large customer group in the queer community, and we are queer-owned and active in the LGBT chamber of commerce. But we are open to anyone of any socioeconomic identification.
WW: What will competition be like for you in Denver?
CJ: Hysteria was pretty famous among the feminist sex-positive stores. It is sad when anyone who is trying to make it by doing something different can't do so. I think they had a hard location as well. But our niche is growing. More people are finding success having stores that are well-lit, cleaner and have high end products of good quality. More business is always good. We are lot different that other places. Competition just makes you better.
WW: What will the Denver store be like?
CJ: Here, we teach classes at universities and in the store for nonprofits, mental health practitioners and do other outreach. We've had some amazing national sex educators -- people who are fairly famous in their fields -- come through, like Tristan Taormino, Nina Hartley, and some queer porn-makers.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.