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Old Hustler Hollywood adult store to become Sunrise Preschool

from www.azcentral.com – Where adult toys once ruled, children will now play.

A Hustler Hollywood adult store that sparked controversy when it moved into a Tempe neighborhood near Broadway Road and McClintock Drive in 2006 will soon be home to a Sunrise Preschool.

The Hustler store closed in May. The day care received its building permit in April. Corporate officials did not return a call for comment about the opening date.

While the preschool will likely open with less fanfare than Arizona’s only and the nation’s 12th Hustler store, some residents say a business serving families is a better fit for the neighborhood and shopping strip that now includes a nail saloon, CVS Pharmacy and Pizza Hut location.

The Hustler store had its December 2006 grand opening amid beaming sky lights and a visit from pornography guru Larry Flynt. More than 100 people chanted the publisher’s name and waited in line for his autographs.

Not everyone was star struck.

Neighbors complained about a business selling adult toys, provocative clothing and other explicit material opening so close to a residential neighborhood.

“That store doesn’t belong in a family-oriented neighborhood, period. Put a place like that in an industrial area. Our families need all the help they can get, not a place like that,” resident Kent Porter said months before the store opened.

While some residents supported businesses’ rights, they worried about the shop’s proximity to schools.

“I don’t go to topless bars or to those adult stores, but I have a choice and everyone else has a choice. If people don’t like them, then don’t go. On the other hand, if there are schools anywhere near that place . . . then it shouldn’t be allowed,” Dennis Tosline said.

The Hustler store was about 1 mile from McClintock High School and Curry Elementary School. Previously, the building was the site of a 1st Draft Pick Sports Bar and was also once a Red Lobster.

Open less than three years, the Hustler Hollywood failed to expand its business in Arizona and never grew a strong customer base in Tempe. The store closed May 31.

“We picked a bad location, and that location was not profitable for us,” said Chris Strom, Hustler vice president of retail operations, following the closure. “We need to be more savvy at picking a better location.”

This week, Gail Fisher, who lives in the Shalimar neighborhood southeast of the store, said she is happy the building is getting a new occupant. She thinks the preschool will fill a niche in the community.

“I’d rather see that building occupied than vacant – vacant buildings look like failure,” she said. “I think it’s a great thing for the community. There are a lot of apartments around there and there’s a lot of children. It could be a very convenient school for the neighborhood.”

Fisher was not a Hustler fan. She said she is pleased the market showed the retailer lacked broad community support.

“I always thought it was an inappropriate location given the nature of the business,” she said. “It just didn’t really fit the demand of our neighborhood. They tried but it failed.”

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