Controversial Pembroke shop, Trevor's Toybox, barred from opening
An order from the Merrimack County Superior Court has prevented the controversial Pembroke shop, Trevor's Toybox, from opening. A hearing on the case is scheduled for April 8 at 9 a.m.
The injunction, which was issued on Friday, will remain in place until April 9.
The ex partre injunction, means that it was considered and ruled on by the judge the day of its receipt, sidestepping the regular filing process, which would have taken 10 days.
"If we'd have waited 10 days, this would have pushed them past April 1, their scheduled opening," said Town Administrator David Jodoin.
A February Facebook post announced that the shop would open on April 1.
A window display featuring leather-clad mannequins holding what's been described as "sexual paraphernalia" appeared in March and residents and business owners nearby complained to the board of selectmen, asking them to intervene.
Under town ordinances, adult entertainment venues are only allowed in specially designated areas of town, of which the Main Street area is not one.
The selectmen issued a notice of violation against the business and its owner, former selectman Larry Preston, giving him until 9 a.m. March 22 to remove the window display and begin the approval process with various town land use boards.
The deadline was missed, and on March 25, the board voted to file the injunction with the Merrimack County Superior Court to prevent the shop from opening.
While the display remains up, the shop remains closed, its door locked and the space apparently empty. Preston could not be reached for comment.
Preston has maintained that much of the controversy surrounding the store is based on a misunderstanding.
Preston says that the storefront is not an adult toy shop but rather a leather clothing store, with adult toys sold on a separate shop on the Web.
The town, however, remains unconvinced.
"They registered with the secretary of state's office (as an adult toy shop) and they gave that address, so according to the town zoning ordinance it's not allowed in that area," said Jodoin. "Everything is pointing right back to that address. The board of selectmen are looking at it as it's physically functioning at that address."
The petition for injunction letter refers to the filing of the business as "retail - adult toys."
The letter asserts that Preston and Trevor Cole, the store's co-owner, have "badly (claimed) on more than one occasion to the town's code officer that their store is permitted because Bondage and Sado-Masochism are 'unrelated' to sexual activity." The letter goes on to cite the business' website and Facebook page, the latter of which contains sexual imagery and lists the Main Street address as its location.
Opinion in the town is not uniformly against Preston and his shop. Several residents on the Main Street strip have argued that Preston has a right to open his business where he chooses, with residents commenting on the business' Facebook page supporting Preston as well.