A sex store won't cause much stir in these modern times. It's merely a place for adults to advance their native pleasures.
The same goes for CBD shops. While cannabidiol won't get you high, even the mom crowd is flocking to make use of its curative powers, which have been sought for centuries.
So when a landlord dispute caused Dennis Buchanan Jr. to close his store in Forest Lake, he decided to open a new one in Isanti, a town of 5,200 an hour due north of Minneapolis.
You might say Buchanan is an impresario of the amorous arts. He owns Sex World, Intimates, and Lickety Split in downtown Minneapolis. The CBD Joint in Isanti was billed as “Minnesota's biggest CBD shop.” But it would not only feature herbal remedies and accoutrements. It would also house things like massagers, lingerie, leather goods, adult toys, and gag gifts.
It seemed a rather nice score for Isanti. Buchanan was taking over a strip mall on Highway 65 that sat largely vacant for years, bringing a solid business to the Minnesota countryside, where new retail isn't easy to come by. And while selling sex might seem incongruent with more conservative rural areas, sex shops have thrived for years off freeway exchanges in some of the reddest places in America.
In fact, despite protests otherwise, country conservatives might well be America's horniest people.
According to a state-by-state analysis of time spent on the mega-site Pornhub, the Top 10 is a tour of agrarian Bible Belt states, led by Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, and Louisiana. Hawaii was the only blue state to crack the most devoted list.
This would seem to indicate clear demand for Buchanan's mercantile designs.
Yet his store flew under the notice of Isanti officials. That changed when Buchanan started running radio ads touting “everything from CBD hemp flower to wall-to-wall adult toys.” Said officials were not pleased, and dispatched a cease and desist letter.
City statute bars the sale of glass pipes used to smoke hemp flower, an anti-inflammatory used as a stress and pain reliever, as well as an aid to people with seizures. Though hemp flower is legal nationwide, Isanti views the pipes as “drug paraphernalia.”
The city also requires a license to sell adult material.
Buchanan pulled his pipes and sexual products from the shelves, but he plans to fight the directive. He sees the laws as antiquated.
“I think the city means well and I have no problems with that,” he says. “I want to help educate them that their laws are old and from the '80s... I asked the city what they define as an adult toy, and they did not have any answers. ”
Besides, he says residents have offered a decidedly different welcome. “I figured people would appreciate that I put it in an mall that hasn't worked. I know there has been a lot of support from the community, so the city not being nice to us is OK as long as the people are OK. I did not call it Sex World or put live girls and DVD video booths in the store.”
His opening has also stimulated renewed interest in the long-dormant property from merchants considering opening a brewery, bakery, restaurant, and barber shop.
In the meantime, Isanti surely has bigger concerns than the sale of pipes or sex toys. A KSTP report accused Police Chief Gene Hill of witness tampering and lying under oath. Yet he remained on the job for 15 months after a judge found issues with his credibility.
The chief has since been fired, and City Attorney Clark Joslin resigned last week following his delay in dealing with Hill.