Sex shop move to former Family Video space sparks concern on South West side | Economic news


A dumpster sits outside the old Family Video store on the corner of McKee Road and Maple Grove Drive on the southwest side of Madison. The space is being renovated for Romantix, an adult retailer that sells sex toys and other items but clashes with many neighborhood residents.


Just weeks after adult retailer Adam & Eve opened a shop selling lingerie, adult films and sex toys on Odana Road, another similar business plans to open a shop in a more residential area of southwest side of Madison.

Few people are happy with the plan of Romantix, a national chain store with more than 50 locations across the country, but it’s likely that little can be done to prevent the store from opening as it appears to be following orders. Madison’s established zoning.

The store, located in what had been a Family Video store at 3154 Maple Grove Dr., is half a block from Wonderland Family Daycare and Bright Child Learning Center and adjacent to residential neighborhoods. El Imperio Mexican Food is located in the same building and space that had been Marco’s Pizza.


El Imperio Mexican Food opened in the former Marco’s Pizza, but the space that housed a family video is now being renovated for a Romantix.


That’s why Madison Ald. Nasra Wehelie has scheduled a public zoom meeting for 6:30 p.m. Monday that will include representatives from the city’s zoning, area neighborhood associations, and Romantix.

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“My main goal is to listen, educate and communicate with my constituents,” Wehelie wrote in an email. “A number of residents have reached out to express their concern about this business. The August 1 meeting will provide an opportunity for residents to voice their concerns to the owner of the business and hear from City staff from the zoning that will provide information about the municipal process. Finally, residents will have the opportunity to ask questions.”


This building had housed a Marco’s Pizza and Family Video. El Imperio Mexican Food recently opened while a Romantix adult retail store is planned for the former video space. Many in the Southwest Side neighborhood host the restaurant but not Romantix.


The store would be the company’s first in Wisconsin, but Iowa is home to six Roamntix stores. Illinois has two, Minnesota none, but North Dakota has four, including three in Fargo, according to its website. The company claims that it maintains “the largest selection of vibrators, dildos, sexy lingerie, and other erotic accessories” and that its sex toys, lubricants, and other products “are selected for people of all genders, ages, and sexual orientations.”

“It’s not suited to the area,” Wehelie wrote. “Additionally, this business will be located where young children walk and ride bikes.”



Ken Brown, vice president of the Stone Meadows Neighborhood Association, said the opening of the Adam & Eve store on Odana Road was in a retail corridor with little accommodation. The Romantix store is unexpected and unwanted by its neighborhood.

“We would have liked to have a little more retail, but we certainly weren’t looking for that,” said Brown, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1999. “It’s not like it’s been completely avoided, but nobody I don’t want an overabundance of these and you I don’t want to see them in a residential area like this People coming in have done their homework but I don’t know how long a business can stay in business if it is not supported.


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