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Marietta revokes sex shop license, owner vows to appeal

The city of Marietta contends that Tokyo Valentino's location at 345 Cobb Parkway South is not authorized to sell 80 to 90% of its sexually oriented items due to its classification as a “general merchandise” establishment.
The city of Marietta contends that Tokyo Valentino's location at 345 Cobb Parkway South is not authorized to sell 80 to 90% of its sexually oriented items due to its classification as a “general merchandise” establishment.

Credit: Tokyo Valentino

Credit: Tokyo Valentino

The owner of a Marietta sex shop says he plans to appeal the city’s decision to revoke his business license.

Tokyo Valentino’s license was revoked June 18 following an administrative hearing over items sold in the store at 345 Cobb Parkway South. According to the ruling, Marietta contends the store is not authorized to sell 80 to 90% of its sexually oriented items due to its classification as a “general merchandise” establishment.

According to its website, Tokyo Valentino sells adult toys, lingerie, massagers, smoking accessories and jewelry. CEO Michael Morrison faced community backlash earlier this year when he unveiled plans to open a location in East Cobb. That store, Morrison said, opened last week and is "doing well."

Tokyo Valentino also opened last year in Sandy Springs, but the city cited the store for using more than 25% of its floor space to sell adult merchandise. The store eventually came into compliance by relocating items inside the store.

City Manager Bill Bruton said city staff initiated an investigation into Tokyo Valentino’s Marietta location, which has been open for four years. During two visits in May, Marietta officers purchased sex toys and adult videos, according to a case file released by the city.

They also snapped photographs that showed full frontal nudity, male and female genitalia and body parts and “sex paraphernalia too extensive to summarize,” documents in the file note.

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One of the officers testified during the June 9 hearing that the store and its items could easily be accessible by children and that minors standing outside and looking through a window could see majority of the adult items on display.

An inspector with the city said Morrison did not describe in detail the items that would be for sale on his 2018 and 2019 applications. The inspector also said a general merchandise license does not cover the amount of sexually oriented items being sold in the store.

Both Morrison and Cary Wiggins, his attorney, said Tokyo Valentino will appeal the city’s ruling. The earliest date on which the appeal could be heard is the July 8 Marietta City Council meeting.

“The store will continue pursuing its rights under the city’s ordinances, while continuing to be a good corporate citizen,” Wiggins said.

Morrison says Tokyo Valentino “freely and openly advertises that we sell these things.” He also said his business does not fall into Marietta’s classification for adult entertainment businesses, which he says is centered around adult book and video store.

“We’ve been there for a long time, and we’ve peacefully co-existed and I have no idea what is driving this.”