Fun facts about the Todd Couples Superstore, according to Laurie Brantley, its general manager for seven years:

Most popular products from the 6,000 square foot adult sex shop located at 13417 N Nebraska Ave. are herbal male enhancement pills.

“We sell over 400 bottles a month, it’s easy,” she said.

Employees are called “sexperts” and receive verbal training on all products.

“I would say 95 percent of my employees don’t use 95 percent of the products but can tell you about 100 percent of them.”

And decades ago, shop owner Tony Arnone owned the broadcast rights to the once controversial X-rated film. Deep Throat.

But here’s an unknown – Todd’s exact birthday.

Reports say it was December 26, 1969.

But store management says it’s April 15 – tax day – of that year.

Either way, this year marks Todd’s 50th birthday, quite a feat for a company like this, Brantley said.

And, due to its large red and white sign hovering over the bustling corner of Nebraska and Fletcher Avenues and a large building in the same colors, she said, the Todd has become both an institution of the region and a landmark.

“Our site is a billboard in itself,” she said. “Everybody knows it.”

Tailoring is the secret to the store’s longevity, Brantley said. What was once an X-rated movie theater is now “classic”.

The store and its parking lot are well-lit, and the more daring merchandise – adult DVDs and vibrators, for example – can be found at the back of the store, while items like lingerie and massage oils adorn the store. before.

“Our place is different from the rest,” said Brantley. “It’s not a dark, dingy place.”

Nor was Todd’s original intention.

Originally located on Nebraska and Fowler avenues, it opened as a conventional 360-seat cinema.

According to news accounts, the first film premiered on Boxing Day 1969. It was The repairer, with Alan Bates.

But Brantley said the location opened to some extent in the previous April. “Something was going on. We don’t know what since it was another owner.”

The owner at the time, Eli Jackson, who named it Todd Theater after his son, told reporters at the time that he would not be showing “skin movies.” But in 1971 the theater was, according to news accounts.

The following year, Arnone bought the company.

Arnone had other theaters across the country, said managing director Brantley, which is why he bought the rights to Deep Throat, the 1972 porn movie starring Linda Lovelace that was banned in some cities.

“He owned the rights everywhere except California and New York,” Brantley said.

Around 1983, the Todd was fully X rated because it couldn’t compete with movie chains.

In 1986, after the Tampa council passed an ordinance prohibiting adult businesses from being within 500 feet of schools, homes, and churches, the Todd moved to its current location just outside of boundaries. from the city.

This place had a 100-seat theater and 11 video viewing booths, started selling and renting VHS tapes, and added novelty sex items to the shelves.

Then, in 1992, Hillsborough County demanded a 2,000-foot buffer zone between adult businesses and churches, schools and homes.

When Todd sued the county, both sides came to a compromise that would allow the company to stay if it stopped showing films.

The transition to an “adult superstore” has worked for the best financially, said Brantley, even allowing them to open a branch in Port Richey in 2014.

Today, what was once a male-dominated clientele are equally female, Brantley said.

“I think the 50 shades movies allowed women to have sex, ”she said.

Eight of the 12 employees at the Hillsborough store are women. All are trained to interact comfortably with clients about sex.

“It’s the best part of the job,” said employee Kailey Snayd. “We educate people and help them become more comfortable with their sexuality and their bodies.”

Valentine’s Day is the busiest time of year for the Todd, followed by Halloween, when the store adds sexy costumes to its shelves. And throughout the year, it remains a popular place for couples to shop for anniversary and anniversary gifts.

Considering Todd turns 50 this year, the golden anniversary, what does Brantley recommend for couples celebrating a similar milestone?

“We’ve got a lot of golden stuff – it’s mostly lingerie,” she said, then adding with a laugh, “or it vibrates.”

As with any merchandise requiring batteries, vibrating products receive them free of charge.

Which leads Brantley to share another fun fact: “We go through several thousand batteries a month.”

Contact Paul Guzzo at [email protected] or follow @PGuzzoTimes.

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