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Guilty Pleasures Removes Signs; Parents Still Not Satisfied

Wilmington, North Carolina- Black and red signs luring customers into Guilty Pleasures have been removed less than a week after the adult novelty business opened on 23rd Street.

But parents of a nearby day care center say having sexy lingerie and other explicit items yards away from their children is still too close for comfort.

“As long as it’s still open to the public it’ll be a concern to me,” said Tracy Pugh, whose daughter has been enrolled at the Children’s Learning Center for two years.

The day care center, operated by Wilmington-based pharmaceutical company aaiPharma, is across the street from Guilty Pleasures.

Last week, parents raised concerns about the business after noticing the signs. The store removed the signs, which required a city permit, last weekend. It remained open Monday.

Since the store is not an “adult establishment” such as a strip club, adult video store or massage parlor, it is not violating any law, city officials said.

Wilmington Zoning Administrator John Fullerton said the amount of space the business is using to display its mature product line, however, is not allowed under its approved license with the city.

He said documents submitted by the company state the building would be used chiefly as a warehouse, which is permitted in the airport industrial zoning area where it is located.

When city code enforcement officials visited the store Thursday, they snapped pictures of its nearly 6,000 square feet of retail space. The store is only licensed to have 50 square feet because business is supposed to be conducted mainly through online or catalog sales, according to Guilty Pleasures’ business license application.

“The photos show anything but that,” Fullerton said.

An employee who answered the phone at Guilty Pleasures on Monday declined to comment and said he did not know who owned the business. A message left with the operation manager was not returned.

The store must comply with its license requirements within 30 days, although it can appeal the matter.

Regardless of what action the store takes, Ashley Council, whose 3-year-old daughter attends the nearby day care center, wants Guilty Pleasures shut down.

“The type of clientele this place is going to attract – we don’t want our children exposed to that,” she said.

If the business agrees to operate as listed on the license, then it may put parents at ease, Fullerton said.

“Parents are concerned about the types of people that this business may attract,” he said.

“If it is online and catalog sales, that would not have to be a worry.”

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