Joan Jones of the Lovin Mood store in Pensacola, Florida, discusses how she and the store have successfully navigated their “bible belt” location over the past four decades.
(Note: This story appears in the April 2023 issue of SE Magazine)
guess they’re embarrassed,” Joan Jones says as her customers giggle — “full-grown men” who can’t handle a dildo in an adult retail store without laughter.
“It doesn’t even matter how old they are,” Jones adds, laughing herself this time. “In fact, the older customers are the ones who need the most hand-holding.”
Jones has noticed a recent increase in older gentlemen in her store. “They’re trying to take charge of issues that happen to older gentlemen,” she says. “And me being the oldest woman here, I’m generally the one that talks to them about it.”
Jones has a lengthy history with her shop. She manages Lovin Mood, a low-key lingerie (in the front) and sex store (in the back) located in Pensacola, Florida, which was first was acquired by her family in 1982. Of its discretion, she remarks, “We don’t want people to to be uncomfortable in our store, which is why it’s arranged the way it is. When you walk in, it’s a lingerie store. If you want to see anything else, you have to do it on purpose.”
This strategy largely has to do with the area in which Lovin Mood’s storefront can be found: Pensacola is a “Bible Belt” city.
“Well, we’ve never had any protesters,” Jones comments on the location, lightheartedly. “We’ve never had anybody come in here and tell us that we’re ‘the devil,’ which is good, because there’s a giant Christian college right down the street from us.”
She describes the staple adult goods store she and her brother have maintained for the last 25 years as about 3,000 square feet and separated into its two sides, lengthwise. On the lingerie side of things, Lovin Mood is especially proud of its plus-sized section.
“Because it’s so hard to come by nicely-cut, well-fitting plus-sized items, whenever I see something actually flattering for a plus-sized lady, we buy it,” says Jones.
She’s happy to walk this writer through Lovin Mood’s front door to her shop’s hidden delights.
“We have games, massage products, bachelorette party supplies and lots of different types of candies, barware, sashes, vibrators, the wand section, the rabbit section, the nipple items section, cuffs, restraints, glass, swings, whips, butt stuff, rings, pumps, fleshlights and assorted other things that mimic that, extenders, harnesses and about an eight-by-eight-foot wall of realistic-looking items,” Jones catalogs. “Oh, and lubes. Lots and lots of lubes.”
The most popular product right now on the toys side is “The Rose” — she says it’s popular by name (note: several manufacturers make a “rose” toy). As a long-standing adult retail store, Jones can attest that what’s changed the most over the years is the variety.
“Today you can get great products, well-made, packaged inoffensively,” she explains. “For example, when I first came on, if you wanted a plug, you had very little selection. Doc Johnson made more than anybody else, but they were all just plain. Now you have light-ups and spinners and glass and rumors and la la la la la la.”
But although new products are coming out all the time, many are too complicated or expensive for the average customer, according to Jones.
“If a product is too busy, customers aren’t exactly sure what to do with it,” she says.
For the older gentlemen in her store, she hopes that “someone will come up with that perfect ED product,” she says. “I’m hoping that someone will make a sheath that stays on without a big around-the-hip strap, that has an open end and a stiffer thin sheath up the shaft, and is not too hard of plastic, so it’s pleasing to the partner. What these guys really want is to make love to their significant other and feel something.”
For more information, call (850)-475-9488, email email@example.com, or visit lovinmood.com.
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