Shopping for romance in an adult superstore: Valentine's Day at The Todd

Top items: Red lingerie, fetish toys and "anything that vibrates."

click to enlarge Todd Couples Superstore - Shawn Alff
Shawn Alff
Todd Couples Superstore

click to enlarge Todd Couples Superstore - Shawn Alff
Shawn Alff
Todd Couples Superstore

While researching how Valentine's Day impacts local businesses, only one couples' superstore came to mind: The Todd—the perennial winner of CL's Best of the Bay Readers' Choice award for "Best Sex Shop." I caught up with general manager Shayne Arnone while he prepared for the store's real holiday season.

How important is Valentine’s Day for The Todd?

It is probably the biggest shopping spike we hit all year. Way above Christmas. The only thing that even contends with it is the weekend of Halloween. We do well on costumes. But, overall, Valentine’s is the biggest for us.

When do you get the most traffic?

The week of. We might catch a spike the weekend before, but the weekend of Valentine’s is always crazy.

Do couples come in together, or is it mainly men shopping for their girlfriends or wives?

It’s about half and half. Half couples, and half individuals.

What are the most popular items around Valentine’s?

We sell a lot of red lingerie. Anything that is red and heartsy-themed does a little better. But pretty much everything in the store spikes. It doesn’t have to be Valentine’s-themed. We put a Valentine’s display up to kind of add character, but those items do not sell particularly better than anything else. Pretty much the whole store is suitable for Valentine’s.

What items do people buy to spice up their Valentine’s activities?

Along with lingerie, bondage and fetish items are getting very popular. It doesn’t have to be aggressive or naughty anymore. It can be playful and tastefully done. Enhancement gels and pills do well. There are all sorts of things people don’t think about that can spice things up. That is kind of the point of Valentine’s; not necessarily enhancing the emotion of a relationship, but enhancing what brings a lot of people together, which is the bedroom.

click to enlarge Shopping for romance in an adult superstore: Valentine's Day at The Todd - Shawn Alff
Shawn Alff
Shopping for romance in an adult superstore: Valentine's Day at The Todd

What merchandise is the Todd's bread and butter?

Anything that vibrates… But, it is amazing how much fetish items have picked up. Also, lubrication, as well as special waterproof lubricants for massages and water play.

Why do you think light fetish items are becoming so popular?

Couples are more open, it is okay to talk about sex, and people are learning different ways to have fun in the bedroom. I think it is becoming more acceptable in our society, so people don’t think they are deviant for doing it. People are just finding new ways to make sex more fun and pleasurable.

How much advertising do you do?

Even before we started promoting it, Valentine’s has always been huge for us. There is not just one product we promote, like we do with costumes for Halloween. We generally just up the advertising a little bit to get the overall Valentine’s message out, but we don’t have to push it too much.

What new products have become popular recently?

What is becoming more popular on the vibrator side are massage wands because they are very powerful. Hitachi is the original, but now there are a bunch of different lines that are being marketed and packaged for the adult industry. Hitachi’s back massager became a popular toy because of its power. It’s hard to make vibrators with a good motor. They are increasingly being made cordless. Rechargeable toys period are becoming more popular. The good ones are usually made in Europe or Canada as opposed to China. They are usually made with better quality material like silicone and stuff that doesn’t cause allergic reactions.

Do you have any Valentine’s Day specials?

No specials. In fact I take down our online coupons. We aren't a small store, but we only have so many products on the shelves, and every year we pretty much come close to maxing out our inventory.

Todd Couples Superstore: 13417 N Nebraska Ave. (813) 971-0007. Mon-Sun, 8am - 2am.

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