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XXX entrepreneur at odds with City of Surrey

British Columbia – from – www.bclocalnews.com – It was the 1950s, and a friend’s book warehouse was going out of business.

Tony Perry, then in his early 20s, offered to sell the books and split the profits with his bankrupt bud.

The books eventually sold, but Perry noticed one side of the Toronto warehouse went very quickly. They were bawdy books, and magazines with names like Tattle Tale and Wink – the “girlie magazines” of half a century ago.

They went so fast, Perry ordered more – a lot more – and sold them all before the rest of the warehouse cleared.

He transformed the concept into a storefront on Toronto’s Yonge Street, selling only magazines with pictures of scantily clad women.

The son of a railroad worker who had a preached on a religious radio show Sundays at 6 a.m., Perry had found his niche. While his seven sisters and two brothers pursued high-level professional careers, Perry had discovered the dawning years of the adult entertainment industry.

Back then, the women in the magazines wore more than they do in today’s Cosmopolitan and Vogue publications, but that didn’t stop purists from being offended by them.

In the late 1950s, police raided Perry’s store, seizing all of the “inappropriate” merchandise.

After a falling out with his business partner in 1965, Perry came back to Vancouver’s east side, where he was born and raised.

His first store in western Canada was in Vancouver, and he eventually opened up another there, and then added outlets in Burnaby, Richmond, New Westminster and Surrey (One Stop XXX), for a total of nine.

Perry’s second Surrey location, Roxxxy’s, opened in the 10700 block of King George Boulevard in November, 2009. Perry added three X-rated movie rooms shortly after.

In every municipality, Perry has received pushback from city councils, which attempted to force him out of business.

None have succeeded – so far.

Recently, Surrey revoked Roxxxy’s business licence, with a letter from the city saying the licence was issued in error.

Now 78 years old, Perry confesses part of the attraction of the business has been fighting for his legal rights.

The 5’6” 126 lb. man, who describes himself as “the perfect height and perfect weight,” gets a mischievous glint in his eye when he describes how a person’s rights aren’t something to be ignored or bargained away.

The man who boxed for six years as a featherweight at Vancouver’s Templeton High School appears as though he has a lot more fight left in him.

• • •

About 30 years after Perry had left the halls of Templeton, another scrappy individual attended that very same high school.

She went on to become the mayor of Surrey.

Dianne Watts is now Perry’s latest opponent in his bid to expand his adult sex shop empire in North Surrey.

Watts has stated publicly Roxxxy’s, with its X-rated movie rooms, is not the kind of business the city wants in Surrey.

It’s not the first time the city has tried to dissuade certain types of companies from setting up shop. A decade ago, Randy Caine had to close down his Guildford hemp store after his business licence fee was increased to a rate he could no longer afford.

The city has also introduced a bylaw prohibiting new methadone dispensaries (pharmacies predominantly selling the narcotic used for heroin withdrawal).

While X-rated theatres throughout the Lower Mainland experience similar issues as Roxxxy’s (see story below), Watts said that’s no reason for Surrey to ignore the issue.

“It depends on how you want to grow as a city,” Watts says. “I have no issue with what people want to do in their own homes.”

Watts notes there are several ads online for people to meet for sexual encounters at the theatre.

Perry says if he ever caught anyone doing that, he’d ban them from the premises.

As always, Perry is prepared to fight and unwilling to lose, a stance that once earned him a plaque from a group of lawyers: “To Tony Perry: a professional defendant.”

Standing in his Whalley store, where plastic body parts of every size, shape and colour adorn the walls, Perry describes how the business has changed over the years.

Thee decades ago, he sold magazines, movies and the odd novelty item. Slowly those things became available in mainstream stores and eventually the Internet made retail almost redundant.

Now his store carries almost exclusively rubber sexual aids, along with oils, potions and some fetish wear.

Unlike 30 years ago, most of his clients are women.

Perry says he sells joy, and claims to have saved marriages, giving spouses new excitement in the boudoir.

Sex is an instinct second only to survival in strength, Perry says. Why suppress it?

The Abbotsford resident and grandfather of two is a bit of a homebody. After five marriages, he says he’s finally found the perfect woman, who he’s been with for the last 25 years.

Like Perry’s parents, they have 10 kids – seven boys and three girls. Five of the kids were adopted from Mexico, where “they never would have made it on their own.”

The children learned about his business when they were 18, and he says they fully accept what he does for a living.

However, they don’t frequent his store.

The 20-year-member of Amnesty International speaks often of rights, and how people without a voice need to be heard. He sees his continuing fight for his stores as a cause celebre, a scrap he doesn’t intend to give up.

“I’m going to quit two years after I die,” Perry says. “In other words, never.”

He’ll re-open his store and theatre when his lawyers give him the go ahead. The city can take him to court to force him to close, he says.

As for the mayor, he feels a kinship.

“I feel bad for her. I think she’s a good mayor trying to do a good job,” Perry says. “I just think she’s being poorly advised.”

A tale of two XXX cinemas

In March of last year, Vancouver city council became aware of allegations people may be having sex inside the Fox Cinema at 2321 Main St.

Civic officials created a panel of three city councillors to determine, with lawyers, whether the Fox was in breach of its licence. In the end, the panel decided the Fox should not be found in breach.

The allegations were similar to those being made about Roxxxy’s adult sex novelty shop in North Surrey, which houses three X-rated movie rooms which have reportedly become a meeting spot for people seeking physical intimacy.

Unlike Vancouver, Surrey didn’t strike a panel to consider the fate of Roxxxy’s, in the 10700 block King George Boulevard. Staff sent a letter to owner Tony Perry indicating his licence was issued last year “in error.”

It has been revoked and the store is now closed.

Perry insists there’s no hanky panky going on in his theatres and wonders why the city is targeting him. He points out there are other businesses, some massage parlours in particular, where sex can be purchased. City hall appears to be in no hurry to have them shut down, Perry says.

Perry owns nine stores in the Lower Mainland and has been pressured by other municipalities to move on. He tried to set up shop in Maple Ridge and found it was the worst, withholding a licence for three years.

Perry plans to open up in Surrey again when given the green light by his lawyers. He welcomes the city to apply for a court-ordered closure after that.

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