2 new sex shops in Scottsdale are worrying some

from www.azcentral.com – An adult shop called Fascinations that recently opened two Scottsdale stores has heightened concerns about the type of businesses locating in the southern end of the city.

Activist Lisa Haskell told the Scottsdale City Council earlier this week that the area is attracting check-cashing stores, pawnshops and now Fascinations, northwest of Scottsdale Road and Oak Street.

“We don’t want the area to become a dumping ground for adult-type businesses,” Haskell told the council.

Scottsdale has had its share of battles over adult businesses, primarily in south Scottsdale. Three years ago, voters overturned a city ordinance banning lap dances in the city’s south-side strip clubs. The city previously clashed with adult businesses in 1993, when a strip club opened briefly at Shea Boulevard and Scottsdale Road.

Now, Fascinations has come to town and city-planning staff and code-enforcement officials are getting inquiries about whether the new stores are permitted at their locations. A second store is near Loop 101 and Raintree Drive.

Wendy Hardy, Scottsdale senior planner, said the Fascinations stores would only need a conditional-use permit as an adult novelty store if more than 25 percent of the floor area of the stores are devoted to “devices or paraphernalia which are designed for use in connection with specified sexual activities.” Otherwise, they are considered retail shops that can operate in any commercial zoning district, she said.

Michael Ham, Fascinations director of marketing, said the stores have a different concept than other adult shops.

“We have decreased the amount of mature content and focus more on intimate apparel, adult games and massage oils,” he said, adding that adult items make up less than 20 percent of the merchandise.

The north Scottsdale store at 14843 N. Northsight Blvd. is a contemporary design with track lighting, wooden floors and an open, spacious interior. Much of the 4,100-square-feet of space is devoted to lingerie, revealing Halloween costumes, and lotions and oils. Adult novelties, sexual devices, condoms, books and a small shelf of X-rated DVDs are in the back of the store.

The merchandise includes knee-high, white, patent-leather platform boots; bustiers; thongs for women and men; an abbreviated sailor’s costume; and books on the Kama Sutra and tantric sex. There are no adult magazines, rental DVDs or video booths.

“A majority of our customers are women, and a majority of our shoppers are in committed relationships,” Ham said.

Fascinations’ parent company is Chandler-based Marsoner Inc. The private company’s directors are Patrick Jagos of Chandler and Reinhold Marsoner of Paradise Valley.

Fascinations has eight Valley stores and seven others in Tucson, Denver, and Portland, Ore.

The company has been eyeing Scottsdale as an underserved market for adult stores, particularly north Scottsdale, Ham said.

“With the commercial-real-estate bust, we saw some opportunities to get into those areas,” he said.

The two stores, open daily from 9 a.m. to midnight, will employ a total of 15 people.

During the first week of business, Fascinations donated 10 percent of all sales to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

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