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Kitchen Appliances Win the Day: Legal Battle Over Adult-Oriented Store Very Intimate Pleasures Ends

BERLIN, Connecticut —— from www.courant.com – A years-long battle by the town to keep a chain of adult-oriented stores out of Berlin appears to have ended successfully.

When it met on Sept. 20, the town council approved an agreement with the owner of Very Intimate Pleasures to drop litigation over a store that it wanted to open at 717 Berlin Turnpike. Mayor Adam Salina [pictured] said this is because the owner of VIP instead has opened a Chef’s Equipment Emporium at that location. Like VIP, Chef’s is part of a chain of stores and it sells kitchen appliances and cooking equipment.

The Chef’s store opened on Sept. 21. Salina said Dominick DeMartino, who owns Chef’s and VIP, has assured him that he will not try to bring back plans for a VIP store.

“I want the Chef’s store to do well and we have assurances that the store is here to stay,” Salina said. “I don’t think we will be going down the road we were on again.”

This ends a battle between the town and VIP that started in 2006, when VIP announced plans to open up at 717 Berlin Turnpike. That location is a short distance away from a residential neighborhood and the town refused to grant it permission to open. VIP sued and a case challenging the town’s authority to regulate sexually-oriented businesses had been pending in the U.S. District Court in Bridgeport. Both sides have agreed that the lawsuit be withdrawn.

Salina would not characterize the outcome as a victory for the town, but said he is happy with how things have turned out.

“Any time we can have a vacant building occupied, especially by a business like Chefs’, I am extremely pleased,” Salina said. “I am excited to have a retail store on the Berlin Turnpike that draws customers from around the state.”

DeMartino and his lawyer, Daniel Silver, could not be reached on Monday for comment. The decision to drop the litigation is a change from their position when the Chefs’s store was announced in May. At that time, Silver said his client would still pursue the federal case and open VIP store if he won.

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