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Pembroke tells store owner to remove adult items from display window

Evelyn Carey pauses in front of the Trevor's Toybox storefront on Main Street in Pembroke; Monday, March 18, 2013.
(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor staff)

Evelyn Carey pauses in front of the Trevor's Toybox storefront on Main Street in Pembroke; Monday, March 18, 2013. (SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor staff)

A new store in Suncook village has drawn a lot of attention since unveiling a window display featuring mannequins decked in studded leather and holding handcuffs.

The sign and display for Trevor’s Toybox went up last Wednesday; Monday night several residents and local business owners attended the Pembroke selectmen’s meeting to complain that it’s out of character with the historic business district.

The town code enforcement officer sent a notice of violation to the owner, Larry Preston, who also owns the building at 145 Main St., where the store is located on the first floor.

The letter outlines several violations and gives the store until 9 a.m. tomorrow to comply.

The store was scheduled to open April 1, according to a post made on Facebook in February. A man who answered at a phone number listed for the store referred all questions to Preston, who said Tuesday he hadn’t received any notice of violation and would not answer further questions.

“I really can’t speak to anything. This is an ongoing situation and we’ll just have to see how things develop,” he said. “I think a lot of people are mistaken. I think a lot of people have jumped to conclusions. There are several people in the community that have made errors and are mistaken about what they think is going on. . . . People are putting the cart before the horse. Nobody has ever asked what I’m doing here.”

When asked, Preston would not say what the store will sell.

But residents and business owners said this week they think it’s pretty clear what’s going on.

When she first saw the display last week, the male mannequin wore only a leather thong under a pair of leather chaps and held a black leather whip in his hand, said Paula Despres, who owns Jacques Pastries across the street from Trevor’s.

“Everybody has the right to do business and make a living, but it’s not a business that’s conducive to the area. It’s repelling for the other businesses,” she said.

“We have a lot of young children that walk through here, and they shouldn’t have to be subjected to that.”

Her husband, Jacques Despres, agreed. The two were among the group of residents at the board meeting Monday.

“I don’t care what people do behind closed doors. I really don’t care. But kids shouldn’t have to see it,” he said.

That was the reasoning behind the town’s zoning ordinances, said Tina Courtemanche, chairwoman of the board of selectmen. The town ordinances allow both live adult entertainment, such as strip clubs, and passive adult entertainment, such as adult bookshops where sexual paraphernalia is sold, in the northernmost outcropping of town, between Concord and Loudon by Ricker Road. Passive adult entertainment is also allowed in a district bordered by Borough Road, Commerce Way and Route 106 by special exception.

To be in compliance, Preston is required to remove all sexual paraphernalia from the show window, apply to the planning board for a major site plan because the shop was formerly used as office space and apply for a change of use from the zoning board, a building permit and occupancy permit from the town, according to the letter.

If those conditions aren’t met by the deadline, the town may seek penalties under state law that could total $275 for the first day and $550 each day thereafter.

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or
spalermo@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

This story has been updated to reflect the following correction: The deadline for the store to comply with town regulations is 9 a.m. Friday, March 22.

Legacy Comments7

And this is different from shows on HBO, how? Is it any more of an influence on young people then entertainment media? Children have health classes and in high schools across the country they learn how to put a condom on a banana, do we think that they really don't know what is going on at this store? Most teens could probably teach a class to adults about the subject. Jacques offers fine desserts and great wedding cakes. Perhaps the owner should partner with the owner of the "adult toy" store. The Bride and Groom could have a one stop shopping experience. Disclaimer: I do not support the industry, I support this person's right to run this kind of store and to be an entrepreneur. I find the business in general repugnant but it is his business if he wants that reputation for himself.

I wholeheartedly agree with BuckWashington. An uptight pastry shop that perpetuates unhealthy eating and making people fat is hardly one to throw stones. Gracchus has a great idea with trading the whip for a gun. Maybe it would be ok then because guns are more prevalent on tv than whips. Free enterprise ! If the man has an idea for a business, there is demand for the products that business sells, and it is legal than my god let the man make a living! I am sure he pays taxes like everyone else in town. He may even decide that on occasion to splurge on something sweet for lunch from the overpriced place across the street. I for one look forward to shopping at Trevor's

What this article fails to address is the fact that Preston and his partner are both former Pembroke Selectmen (who have both recently lost their election bids) and they are WELL AWARE of what the town ordinances are.

All would be OK had the store owner - keeping well within the definitions of "adult toys" - outfitted one of the mannequins with an AR-15, the other with a Glock. Firearms and fetishwear: American free enterprise at its best.

First off I am the father of two great adult sons and two fabulous grandchildren. Although I don’t agree with these types of businesses they too have rights. So let’s not use children as the reason for not allowing this establishment. Just walk about five doors down the street and you will find a shop whose sole purpose is to promote the production of alcoholic beverages. And if you really want to stretch the “children,” across the street is a pastry shop that certainly doesn’t promote a healthy nutritional standard for our kids. The reality of this is “bigotry” and a “not in my town” way of thinking. Maybe our selectman, ZBA members and code enforcement officer would serve our community (Pembroke) better by tackling the bigger issues that confront us. Like the out of control property taxes we face that are driving us who are on fixed incomes to contemplate having to move from town we dearly love.

I am less disturbed by the display and more disturbed by the name of the store. The sign is one that would attract children's attention.

The Certificate of Formation filed with the Secretary of State's Office in January was that this store would sell "Adult Toys" - see http://www.sos.nh.gov/imaging/14266358.pdf.

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