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Sex shop swings into town

A new vape and sex toy shop is taking off in Masterton, the first of its kind since sex store Merry Peckers closed its doors in 2018.

With a timely launch just before Valentine’s Day, Bissh Vape N Vibrate Limited has been attracting visitors’ curiosity with a ‘naughty corner’ that features walls of sex toys hidden behind black curtains and the allure of neon lights.

The business is a family affair. Owner Tricia Te Wani-Cook took over the Lincoln Rd premises from her brother when his business, Vendetta Vape, went into liquidation in December last year.

“I was working here and tinkering with the thought of opening my own vape and sex shop, so I jumped at the chance when the opportunity came up,” she said.

Te Wani-Cook said she realised the market was there through talking with friends who had to travel a long way because there were no local options.

For the past five years, the only sex store in Wairarapa has been Eketahuna’s Tabu Adult Boutique.

Due to building renovations, the business has had a soft start, but Te Wani-Cook said the customer base is beginning to grow.

“The older ones are great. They go into the naughty corner, and you can hear them giggling.”

Shop assistant Wilma Baldwin – who is Te Wani-Cook’s niece – said one elderly customer had made her day with her sex-positive attitude.

“She wandered by on a Zimmer frame and I sang out to her to ‘come buy a dildo’. She found it hilarious and said, ‘don’t mind if I do, I need a friend under my bed.’”

The potential for negative public reaction to a store of this nature wasn’t something that played on Te Wani-Cook’s mind prior to opening.

“It’s all hidden, it’s not right in anyone’s face,” she said.

“Each to their own, really. With any shop you open, everyone will have their own opinions.

“We just want to run a safe, sex-positive space where customers feel comfortable.”

There are plenty of ways Te Wani-Cook wants to grow the business if the Masterton store’s bottom line continues to improve.

“We’d love to expand the naughty corner and have more variety of dress-up costumes. People have even asked if we could expand to Featherston and Levin.”

The building lease is assigned and approved by Masterton Trust Lands Trust, which owns around $85 million of commercial property in Masterton.

Trust general manager Andrew Croskery said they encouraged all retailers and all types of businesses in the town, as long as the business was consistent with the district plan.

“There are lots of commercial leases in Masterton. We don’t have a policy here that dictates a moral judgement,” said Croskery, adding that he hopes Te Wani-Cook will receive the community support necessary to make the business successful.

“If it makes people happy, then it’s a good thing.”

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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