After 12 years of dildos, lubes, creams and lingerie, the two pioneers who sexed up Fourth Avenue are passing the torch to a new generation.
Adult Warehouse is for sale.
When Richard Rupert, a caterer by trade, first conceived of bringing an adult store to the Yukon, he was leery of the community’s response. Fearing a public backlash, he had visions of graffiti on the front windows and massive negative letter-writing campaigns to local newspapers.
“In 12 years, I don’t think we have ever heard a derogatory remark, anything,” said Rupert.
Far from it, the store has become a community institution.
In mid-November the store held a “Going Out of Business Prices” sale. The store had no plans to close, but the sale was structured as if they were closing. Massive banners in the window loudly proclaimed “going out of business.”
“We had so many people coming in saying, ‘Oh no, you can’t go out of business, what are we going to do?’” said Rupert.
“It’s these kind of comments where I realized, ‘Wow, we’ve really got something going here,’” he said.
Every year, sales have gone progressively up, said Teresa Tucker, Rupert’s girlfriend and co-operator of the store.
“My original trepidations about opening an adult store have all changed,” said Rupert.
“And it’s the public that changed me — by accepting us,” he said.
Service has always been at the core of Adult Warehouse’s creed
Newcomers are especially welcome.
“Discretion here is at the utmost,” said Rupert.
There’s “nothing more rewarding” than helping a nervous customer feel comfortable enough to find what they’re truly looking for, said Rupert
“There was a fella in here the other day, he says he comes here because it’s the friendliest store in town,” said Rupert.
As they lead me through the store, both Tucker and Rupert have a wholesome kindness to them, like a fun-to-visit aunt and uncle. As the interview progresses, they often finish each other’s sentences.
When the store moved from its original Black St. location to its current Jarvis St. location, the clientele began getting a lot younger, notes Rupert.
“Younger people are more comfortable with their sexuality,” said Tucker.
“They have no reservations about going in and knowing exactly what they want,” she said.
“It’s a lot different than our generation,” said Tucker.
“Oh, lord yes,” agreed Rupert.
Rupert said he still remembers the nervousness he felt the first time he entered a sex shop.
The trick for Adult Warehouse has always been to “break the ice.”
If you can get the customer into the store, they quickly realize it isn’t “the little shop of horrors they imagined,” said Rupert.
The store is carefully structured into varying levels of explicitness, providing customers the opportunity to carefully tailor the “rudeness” of their Adult Warehouse visit.
At the front are the sex-themed party favours.
Among the party favours is a fishing lure shaped like a pair of breasts.
“I don’t know if they work or not,” said Rupert.
And, of course, the requisite edible underwear.
Then there is a gauntlet of lingerie, creams, lubes, and finally, at the back of the store, are the sex toys and pornographic DVDs.
The world of pornographic videos has expanded far beyond the “ding-dong; pizza man” plotline, said Rupert, referring to the common porn movie theme of a well-endowed pizza delivery man being seduced by a scantily clad female customer.
The two proudly display a special-edition copy of Pirates, which, at a budget of $1 million is the most expensive pornographic movie ever made.
“It’s a good story; there’s comedy, good costumes, special effects,” said Tucker.
Shot on replica pirate ships, the film has 300 special effects shots — and even an original orchestral score.
“But they are triple-x; they show everything,” said Rupert.
Below shelves stuffed with DVDs lies a tiny rack with a selection of DVDs labelled “Fem Porn.”
How is Fem Porn different than other porn?
“There’s no breast augmentation, there’s no tattoos, no piercings, even the hair has to be naturally coloured,” said Rupert.
“And there is a plotline to them,” said Tucker.
In the toy section sits a small stack of newly arrived dancer’s poles — one has already been sold. Or, the Liberator, a wedge-shaped pillow meant to facilitate better sex positions.
“It’s actually made so that a woman’s body is at the optimal angle for conception,” said Tucker.
And for the holidays there’s a Santa-shaped dildo.
“We have so much fun in this store — every day we get a big belly laugh ,” said Rupert.
Just then, raucous laughter came from the front as a mail carrier came in with the day’s delivery.
One of the store’s regular customers has such an infectious laugh, that Rupert has often thought about taping it and running it as the background of an Adult Warehouse radio ad.
The store also carries a vast selection of marijuana pipes and paraphernalia, a product line they took on at the suggestion of customers.
Customers wanted to buy their hash pipes at a location barring minors so that there would be no risk of running into “their son’s friends,” explained Rupert.
Right above the pipes is a rack of large, abrasive brushes meant for cleaning bongs. Located so close to the sex toys, the brushes have been known to elicit confusion.
Once, when Tucker was leading a slightly nervous woman through the store, she froze upon seeing the brushes.
“Please tell me those aren’t what I think they are,” she said.
For prospective buyers, the Adult Warehouse carries the envious retail position of being almost recession-proof.
As consumers worldwide react to the global financial crisis by tightening their belts, the adult industry is well poised to weather the storm.
“In any hard times, we’re still busy,” said Rupert.
“Now, instead of going to the bar, guys will grab a case of beer, a couple of DVDs and go home,” he said.
Wherever retirement takes Rupert and Tucker, they can forever rest easy knowing that thanks to them, countless Yukoners are doing anything but resting easy.
Contact Tristin Hopper at