The Hustler Hollywood store, which opened in south Clintonville amid much controversy in summer 2012, is closing at the end of this month.
The adult store operating at 2761 N. High St. will close by the end of February, said Eric M. Eldridge, vice president of commercial realty and property services for the building's property manager, Dublin-based New Perspective Realty LLC.
Eldridge is trying to hustle up a new tenant for the soon-to-close adult boutique, part of a chain of stores owned by Hustler magazine publisher and onetime Columbus resident Larry Flynt. It previously operated as a tanning salon.
"In short, not putting words in Hustler Hollywood's mouth, but what I was told from one of the an employees was apparently their prototype is a large -- we'll call it a megastore -- and this boutique concept was newer to them and apparently didn't take well in the market. So they're closing up," Eldridge said Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 6.
"As for who we would be looking for, a complement to the community is obviously important to us. I know Hustler wasn't exactly viewed as such, but someone that's viable for the long term and kind of fits with the mix for Clintonville is obviously our No. 1 goal."
An employee who answered the phone at the store Wednesday declined comment.
She did say that the manager, identified only as "Ronnie," would be able to discuss the situation on Thursday afternoon.
The news of the upcoming closing of the boutique was greeted with elation by businessman Anand Saha, who has two cafes located nearby.
"We're extremely thrilled about the decision of them leaving," he said.
Hustler Hollywood did not join the Clintonville Area Chamber of Commerce, according to President Jenny Smith, who indicated she will hardly mourn the store's departure.
"I've never shopped there," Smith said. "I've never been in there. I don't know that we have an opinion on that. There was a lot of hullabaloo when it opened and people calling the chamber asking how could we let this happen. As a resident of the community, it wouldn't be a store that I would seek out.
"The chamber had no interaction with them at all. Really they're like any other retail person in that they paid their rent, I'm assuming, to somebody and weren't breaking any laws."
"The property is in great shape, as the current tenant made many improvements, not only to the building, but to the parking lot as well," Eldridge wrote in a Feb. 5 email to prospective tenants.
In the email, Eldridge indicated that the potential for a new Lucky's Market natural-foods store across the way and a new tenant just north of the Hustler Hollywood store where a White Castle used to be located, as positive developments that would make the former TanPro location all the more desirable.
"I have yet to place a 'For Lease' sign on the property and I've shown the space three times already," Eldridge wrote. "I'm letting you know of this opportunity, because at some point, we have discussed properties that could work for you. I wanted you to be one of the first to know of this not yet marketed opportunity.
"With this property, I can confidently say that it will not last long, so let's get in touch soon."
Eldridge described interest in leasing the property as already "substantial."
"It's pretty crazy," Eldridge said. "In my line of work, you never know what's going to hit. This is a very popular little property."