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Adult-themed store planned for Madison's southwest side draws concerns, support

  • Updated
Romantix to Open in Old Family Video Store

MADISON (WKOW) -- For more than 20 years, the building at the corner of Maple Grove Drive and McKee Road housed a Family Video. But that store closed in September 2020, and the storefront has been vacant since then. Now, Romantix is set to move in. 

The store sells lingerie, sex toys and other adult items. However, Madison's Zoning Administrator, Katie Bannon, said the business will be classified as a general retail store rather than an adult entertainment establishment, which are subject to more restrictions on where they are located. 

Bannon said the city's zoning code states businesses are only considered adult entertainment establishments if more than 10% of floor and wall display space is used for print or audiovisual adult material or the business shows adult motion pictures.

The Romantix store on Maple Grove Drive won't sell any adult movies, books or magazines, and it won't have any viewing booths for adult videos. 

Despite that, some people who live in the area said they're not comfortable with the business, and they don't think it fits into the neighborhood. 

"I have felt like this was a very family-friendly, safe area until I heard this store was coming in," Rita Sheffield said Monday during a community meeting about the store. "I have concerns about the people it's bringing in, and I know that would be a limited number of concerning people, but still it's there. [I also have] concerns about what you see driving by and walking by and waiting for the bus."

Other people at the meeting raised concerns about how the store will prevent people younger than 18 from shopping there and what will and won't be visible through the store's windows. 

However, not everyone who lives in the area is opposed to the store. 

Wendy Holly said she would be proud to live in a neighborhood that's welcoming to a variety of businesses. 

"I feel strongly that laws should be applied equally to everyone, even someone who is unpopular or disliked," she said. "...In my opinion, it's not right to drive away a business that is different or unusual but completely law abiding due to personal feelings about its products."

Bannon said people unhappy with the store can make a few specific appeals, but none is likely to stop the store from opening because the business follows all current city codes and there isn't a way to change the code in the middle of a project. 

There's no word yet on when the store will open.