Sex accessories — Mission style — are going downtown.
“We’re ready for the next era of expansion,” said Jackie Strano, the chief operating officer for Good Vibrations, who will oversee the adult store’s expansion this winter into 3000 square feet of retail space near Union Square.
The new retail space, located on Mission Street between 4th and 5th streets, will pick up a lot of foot traffic, particularly from tourists, Strano said. And, true to its Mission roots, where it opened in 1977 and grew on the ethic of serving women, Strano sees the larger store as an ideal location for continuing Good Vibrations’ events, such as Mommy Playdates.
“That’s been a campaign we’ve done an outreach for new mothers,” Strano said. “We’ve got more space to play.”
The location is in the same building with the large Fifth & Mission Yerba Buena parking garage, and a block away from the Powell Street BART station.
“We can reach a lot of folks from all over,” Strano said. “This is a very vibrant neighborhood. It intersects a lot of very vital neighborhoods.”
Strano knows the company well. She started in the Mission District in 1977 under the original owner, Joanie Blank, and continued when it became cooperatively owned in 1992. She was there to train new employees when the store opened its first expansion in Berkeley in 1994 and then left for several years to work in eCommerce. She decided to return to Good Vibrations last year.
“It’s always been a backdrop to my adult life,” Strano said. ” Good Vibes has always been there as my second family. I met my wife on the floor of Good Vibrations.”
In the last 33 years, the company has expanded from a small retail business into a booming franchise with three branches in the Bay Area and one in Massachusetts. Currently, the Good Vibrations brand stretches from retail to web sales, wholesale, and even as an DVD production company, Good Releasing, which handles adult and educational sex films — all with a slim staff numbering fewer than 50.
“It’s a lean machine,” Strano said. “We’re kind of like a startup. We’re wearing a lot of hats.”
The store’s future downtown neighbors said they expect it will do well.
Jeremy Ogur, director at The Artists Alley Gallery and soon-to-be neighbor with Good Vibrations agrees that the new location will bring in more tourists.
“People come to San Francisco to experience different things that they can’t experience anywhere else,” Ogur said.
Still, Ogur notes that the new GV location is a bit “different” from previous GV locations, and pointing out that the other shops on the block are mostly service businesses: a dry cleaners, several restaurants, and a Sprint store.
Nevertheless, “We’re supportive of any business that comes in here,” Ogur said.
The new location, Strano added, is currently undergoing some minor fixes before opening. “We’re making it prettied up,” she said. “We’ll make it (have) a very comfortable ambiance, a warm, welcoming, inviting space.”