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''It's no longer dark or scary or hidden to go to an adult store,'' Francisco says. ''It's much more accessible, and females will often go to a store to buy toys or gear for events like bachelorette parties or baby showers.''
Jim McGlade, owner of The Leather Rack, says his business had been considering changing its offerings to include more women's items for some time. McGlade, serving as a consultant to Adam & Eve, says a decline in Leather Rack traffic in recent years can be attributed, in part, to online commerce, leading fewer customers to ''brick and mortar'' adult-oriented stores.
At the same time, McGlade says he also saw the demographics of his customers changing. While more than 80 percent of his Leather Rack customers had been male, he says the gender ratio at Adam & Eve is much more balanced.
''People are more open and diverse,'' McGlade says of women and heterosexual couples becoming frequent clients. ''Right now, it's all about inclusion.''
Francisco says changes to the store are not dramatic, but instead largely involve expanding the types of merchandise. Most of the former Leather Rack staff continue to be employed at Adam & Eve, he adds, stressing that the store will continue to offer items popular among gay men primarily.
Francisco plans to have a grand-opening event in February or March, once he's able to stock the store with enough merchandise to fully appeal to an expanded customer base of women and couples.
Adam & Eve is located at 1723 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-299-0440 or visit bitethefruit.com.