The venerable sex shop and Queen West institution Come As You Are officially opened its new location Nov 22.
The new store, at 493 Queen St W, is nearly twice the size of the original location and boasts new signage, an improved layout and a bigger workshop area in the back of the store.
The move was necessitated when the building that housed the original store was sold, but the bigger location is just one way Come As You Are is celebrating 15 years on the Queen West strip.
Jack Lamon, one of the owner-workers at Come As You Are – it’s officially a cooperative – says the expanded space will allow the store to host bigger and better sex workshops.
“We do a lot of workshops with international sex educators, and it’s really nice to have a great space for them to come and visit and do their workshops,” he says.
Coming up, Come As You Are will be hosting six workshops with Midori on subjects such as rope bondage, flogging, and aural seduction (dirty talk), as well as a weekend intensive on feminine dominance.
Lamon says the new store design incorporates an almost masculine blue-and-green colour scheme.
“It’s a bit subversive,” he says. “We’re seen as a women’s store, and really we’re a store for everyone. We just wanted to mess with people’s conceptions of what kind of audiences sex shops attract.”
The new store layout also creates a progression as customers walk in, from books to condoms and oils to restraints and dildos, allowing nervous customers to ease themselves into the more explicit toys. In the back, the dildos, vibrators and butt plugs are all mixed together.
“We wanted to break down the boundaries between toys from a functional perspective and a gender perspective,” Lamon says.