Chicago Ridge trustees Tuesday took a hard line stance with Spencer’s, agreeing to fine the Chicago Ridge Mall novelty store if it does not remove adult sex toys and videos from its shelves by the end of the week.
Spencer’s attorney Kevin Mahoney said the store would abide by the board’s edict, which trustees agreed to following a lengthy conversation about the issue.
Trustees in November unanimously approved an amendment to the village’s ordinance regarding adult book and video stores that required stores such as Spencer’s to place adult toys and videos in a section of the store restricted by doors or walls.
But village officials recently discovered that Spencer’s had not made the appropriate changes, continuing instead to display sex toys and other adult merchandise in the rear of the store in plain view of all customers.
Village officials are especially angry that the merchandise remains in view of teenagers who frequent the store.
Trustee John Lind said the display was inappropriate.
“The back wall (of Spencer’s) is embarrassing. You know it and I know it,” Lind told Mahoney. “I’m not prude. I’m far from it. To me, it’s real embarrassing. When I walked to the back of the store, I was amazed.”
Mahoney said the store did not immediately take steps to comply with the ordinance because he was not aware of the new regulations until Dec. 9, several weeks after the ordinance was passed.
“It’s not a matter that we’ve been ignoring it,” he said.
He said Spencer’s has devised a plan for the store that would include segregating the adult merchandise and monitoring the area to make sure children do not enter.
Trustees were willing to look at the plan, which Mahoney said would be ready by next week.
“We do take the matter very seriously,” said Mahoney, who added that sex toys make up 5 to 10 percent of the store’s total merchandise.
Mayor Chuck Tokar said he was not convinced that Spencer’s plan would meet the expectations outlined in the ordinance.
The decision to segregate the adult section came after a small group of residents told trustees that Spencer’s had a large number of sex toys displayed.