If you’ve been strolling around East Liberty Street near Fourth Avenue recently, you may have seen where the new head shop/sex store, ‘Bongs and Thongs’, was supposed to open at the end of this past July. However, construction of the retail store has been halted due to a zoning issue that concerns its product. The city ordinance forbids the sale of “devices of simulated human genitals or devices designed for sexual stimulation” in that particular district of downtown Ann Arbor.
Right off the bat, you would think that the real issue with opening this store would be what the ‘Bongs’ part of the title entails; but apparently that is not the case. Ann Arbor is known for its quirkiness and general liberal environment; full of unique Ann Arbor townies, farmer’s markets, vintage stores, clothing boutiques, the ‘Safe Sex Store’ right off campus, as well as a number of other eccentric establishments scattered throughout Kerrytown and downtown. The addition of ‘Bongs and Thongs’ fits in quite nicely with the accepting atmosphere that the locals and students alike have embraced here in Ann Arbor. The city and their ordinances that keep stores like ‘Bongs and Thongs’ from opening and bars such as ‘5th Quarter’ and ‘Studio 4’ (currently under the name of ‘Dream Nite Club’) from operating are, in the words of Harry Potter, “riddikulus!”.
Finishing construction and finally unveiling ‘Bongs and Thongs’ as a retail option for those shoppers who grimace at the thought of trekking across the Diag from the ‘Safe Sex Store’ to ’42 Degrees’ (because, let’s face it, their selection is much better than ‘Smoka Hookah’) will be a light at the end of a long tunnel. The introduction of an alternative to the ‘Safe Sex Store’ will be a welcome change to sexually active/curious/bored students and locals. In accordance with the stipulations about their merchandise, ‘Bongs and Thongs’ (when it eventually opens at 119 E. Liberty Street) will feature: hookah products, hand-blown glass tobacco products, hose cleaners, decorations, incense, posters, games, massage lotions and oils, body jewelry, party supplies, lubrication and beauty supplies. ‘Bongs and Thongs’ – the name says it all.
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