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Pleasure Chest Raises Shit Storm

Chicago- If you live anywhere in the vicinity of Lincoln and Newport, you may have noticed a new store in the ‘hood. The store-chicago.jpgstore provides some things that were previously lacking in the area, like candles and novelty gifts and erotic toys.

It is the latter that has some residents in the area in a tizzy. The Pleasure Chest recently moved from Broadway and Belmont to 3436 N. Lincoln and has been causing some waves. So many waves, in fact, around 100 people came to a neighborhood meeting to discuss the problem Thursday.

Many of the neighbors complained about the store’s proximity to a church and a school – and perhaps the fact that some of the “candles” are shaped like “dildos.” Or maybe not, but either way, some defenders of the store pointed out that people can either go to the store and shop or not.

It doesn’t seem to matter either way, of course, because the store’s owner met all of the requirements and zoning in the area doesn’t prohibit businesses that sell sex stuff. The alderman, Ted Matlak (not Matlock), just said that the store is completely legitimate, and it’s not going anywhere. For her part, the manager thinks that the neighborhood will warm to the store, and it will fit in “just fine.” And, once they do and it does, they can come there and find other things that are warm and fit fine. Yep.

From the Sun Times: The Pleasure Chest, with its trove of candles, gifts and sex toys, is a legal retail outlet with every right to operate on the North Side.

That news was delivered Thursday night by Ald. Ted Matlak (32nd) to a group of 100 residents — most of them seething over the news that their so-called family-friendly neighborhood has a store that sells sex toys.

“They’re a legal retailer, not an ‘adult use’ [store] — a legal retailer,” Matlak repeated many times during a meeting attended by residents and Pleasure Chest officials at the Chicago Public Library’s Lincoln-Belmont branch.

Opponents maintained the store should fall under “adult use” zoning and demanded it be barred from doing business at the corner of Lincoln and Newport avenues, near schools, churches and homes.

“We’re asking for your help in relocating this business to an appropriate place in the city,” said resident Lisa Young.

Another resident, Karen Fry, said the sale of her home fell through when the prospective buyers learned the Pleasure Chest had recently opened its doors.

Matlak said he reviewed the Pleasure Chest’s license with city zoning officials. His explanation was interpreted by some as surrender, drawing angry responses ranging from why he didn’t know the business was moving in, to what he has done to improve the ward.

After a 1-1/2-hour discussion, Nancy Kasper, who has lived in the area for 23 years, summed it up: “I think we’re stuck with it.”

Pleasure Chest manager Mandy Gooding later expressed relief.

“There’s no peep booths here. We carry a lot of gifty items like cards and candles, and I think we can fit into this neighborhood just fine,” Gooding said.

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