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Adult store owner To Sue

Sioux City, Iowa- If adult store owner John Haltom has his way, Sioux City will live up to its name. A day after an injunction against his store opening was overturned, Haltom, the owner of Dr. John’s adult boutique said yesterday he will seek damages against the city of Sioux City.

Haltom said he was ready to open a new store at 3505 Singing Hills Blvd. in November, and said when the city pursued zoning changes governing adult entertainment businesses, he suffered damages at the hands of “overzealous officials.”

“There will be more litigation, because we want definitely damages,” Haltom said. “We are going to make Sioux City understand that they can’t just go and stomp on people’s rights. I’ve been closed down five months because of them. We’ve sustained a significant financial hardship here. Plus, the employees we hired, they had to go out and find other jobs — they were denied work, and I think they should be compensated too for the last five months, and we will be asking the judge for that.”

With Thursday’s 40-page federal court ruling preventing the city from enforcing its newly formulated zoning ordinance, Haltom can now open the store. Chuckling as he paged through the ruling, Haltom said, “This is a powerful thing; it has got some weight to it. We are in the right and Sioux City was in the wrong the whole time. I mean, every time we tried to work with the city and said, ‘OK, we will do it your way,’ guess what, the city changed their ordinance. What did they change it, five times?”

Said Haltom, “What (the judge) was getting across is that you can’t go after an individual like you have. (The city) specifically targeted a specific store and person, and you can’t do it.” Haltom said the city “released a lot of lies about us and it was very upsetting.”

Haltom is no stranger to litigation, having seen many legal challenges in multiple states. Dr. John’s Inc. is headquartered in Omaha, and now the chain has 16 stores. Haltom said he is making a big push into Iowa and plans to have 50 stores by 2006.

Haltom said he hopes to have the store open by Monday, although it may take a few days more. He acknowledged being surprised by the swiftness of the ruling and said much work was needed to open. Several people came up to the store late Friday afternoon to shop, only to be told they needed to wait.

Haltom said through all the legal wrangling he got a lot of free publicity. He predicts a great response in Sioux City and said he never thought about giving up. “The people of Sioux City are going to shop here dramatically, it is going to be unbelievable,” he said. “We are getting phone calls from people saying congratulations.”

He said no businesses around Dr. John’s in adjacent strip malls have expressed concern about the store opening. Rather, he said, stores nearby will benefit, since Dr. John’s is a draw to couples who are willing to spend money on an outing. Said Haltom, “Businesses that are around us thrive, because we are a point of destination.”

The targeted demographic is “middle-aged couples,” he said. Big sellers, Haltom predicted, will probably be “adult toys and marital aids for women … Couples are doing a lot more stuff to spice up their life. Here, you can come in and get five different items, all the way from lingerie to oils and creams, candles, a toy, a video and go home and have a very enjoyable evening with your spouse.”

The store will sell novelties and swimwear, while adult videos and other items are also offered in a “cage” in the back of the store. Among the products on racks were a Honeymoon Essentials Kit, an inflatable Bondage Chair and a Fatty Patty Love Doll.



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