EVERETT — “Puts more romance in your life,” the Love Zone sign on Evergreen Way says.
It made me want to slam on my brakes.
What’s up with that?
Who doesn’t want more romance, not only on Valentine’s Day but year-round?
You know, a little something beyond wine and chocolate.
The Love Zone has the goods for a “toe-curling, jaw-dropping, sheet clenching, wow-experience,” the website says.
Shoppers have to be at least 18 to enter.
The store is a mom-and-pop shop. Kevin and Katrina Cooney opened the first Love Zone in Marysville in 1996. Before that, the couple had an auto tool store.
“Tools to tools,” Katrina said.
“It’s something like 55 percent of couples admit to having sex toys in the bedroom,” Kevin said. “Man, I’ve been doing this for 27 years and I think the other 45 percent are lying.”
These aren’t exactly like other toys you might show off to your friends.
“I get that it’s tough for people to come into the stores,” Kevin said. “You have all these voices in your head from growing up and being told this or that is a sin or only for procreation, and it’s reinforced throughout society on all sorts of levels.”
The entrance has soft goods, such as lingerie and undergarments like you might see at a mall store. In the middle are lotions, novelties, games and adult coloring books.
The hardware is in the back.
The store is laid out in a “wading pool effect,” Kevin said. “You can go as far as comfortable.”
It is a titillating and educating shopping experience.
“A lot of people come in, walk around and say, ‘Do people really do that?’” Kevin said.
The staff does a lot of explaining.
In the business office is an anatomy poster you might see in a medical office.
“In product knowledge training we go through the clinical terms,” Kevin said. “If you were talking to a doctor or therapist, these are the terms you would use.”
“It’s helping people with their sexual health or wellness,” his wife added. “Sex is a normal process, a natural thing. We keep it professional and clean.”
They see the store as a safe haven for people to talk about desires.
“The thing to keep in mind is they may be discussing things with you more than the person they are actually sleeping with: ‘I want to do this, that or the other thing,’” he said.
The Cooneys have been married 34 years. They met in a bar.
“He sent a drink over to me with a note that said, ‘I know the truth about the Iran-Contra affair’ and he claimed his uncle was Ollie North. Neither was true,” Katrina said. “I was impressed. It was topical. It wasn’t, ‘Hey, baby. You look so great.’ And that intrigued me.’”
It led to marriage, a daughter, and at one time six shops. Love Zone now has two locations, Everett and Marysville. There are a handful of other adult stores in the county.
According to the National Retail Federation, consumers are expected to spend $25.9 billion on Valentine’s Day this year. Top gifts are candy, greeting cards, flowers, an evening out, jewelry, gift cards and clothing.
What’s hot here?
“I’m seeing a lot more people going to … handcuffs, and others going for the full kit,” Katrina said.
Also popular are electronic pleasuring gizmos.
A $49.99 electronic rosebud sold here that took social media by storm can do things real flowers can’t. Let’s just say you won’t need a dozen. One will do the trick.
The customer base skews older than people might think, Kevin said.
“College kids, they’re having sex with each other. It’s fresh and new, and new partners. They don’t need stores like ours,” he said.
“It’s couples who have been together. It’s Friday night, and soccer mom and soccer dad have gone out to dinner because the kids are at Grandma’s house for the weekend. They swing by the store to pick up lingerie and something fun.”
Who knows, maybe Grandma shops here, too.
Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; email@example.com; Twitter: @reporterbrown.
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