Home > Features > Coming Together • Bookmark   • Newsletters   • Register Search Options

FEATURE

Coming Together

Coming Together

September 16, 2009
Text size: 
View in Digital Mag
Get XBIZ News
XBIZ Research
Will virtual reality boost the paysite market?
Yes, it will soon
  39.66%
Yes, but in a few years
  36.87%
No
  23.46%
Out of 179 votes. Results based on votes submitted by members of XBIZ.net social network.

" The basic premise of the group is to bring everyone together under a common purpose of facilitating business and ideas. "

It’s said that from acorns mighty oaks grow. Similarly, from small ideas, big results can be achieved. Such is the case for the Adult Merchant Exchange, a peer group for retailers, wholesalers and adult studios that has expanded and grown since its inception in 2007. What began as a small group comprised of five or six independent retailers has ballooned to include all sectors of the adult DVD supply chain.

Stevenson, owner of The Big DVD Superstore in Syracuse, N.Y. adjacent Liverpool, the Adult Merchant Exchange’s creation can be traced back to the demise of the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) of which Stevenson served as head of the upstate New York chapter made up of about 70 independent retailers.

As video sales declined, so did the VSDA’s influence and membership. This left such similarly aligned retailers with a diminishing peer group. Since there is strength in numbers, Stevenson and other retailers formed the Wine Cellar group, so named because the group first met at the Wine Cellar at the Rio in Las Vegas.

“The issue with the Wine Cellar group was that it concentrated mostly on non-adult product, but since I made most of my money with adult and cared about it the most, it didn’t fully give me everything I needed,” Stevenson told XBIZ.

The members of the AME sell mainstream product but use it as a loss leader of sorts to get foot traffic in their stores where they hope customers will gravitate towards the adult section — their profit center.

While Stevenson still is a member of the Wine Cellar group, he decided to form his own organization to better — and more specifically — address the needs of retailers that sold, and profited from, the sale of adult products.

The focus of the group isn’t particularly on the retail buying end, but is positioned more as an educational group acting as a conduit where ideas, information and knowledge can flow through and be shared among its members.

The group mostly communicates via email, but also uses a message board to more effectively share information with the group. Still, Stevenson reasoned, nothing produces better results than a face-to-face meeting.

“The basic premise of the group is to bring everyone together under a common purpose of facilitating business and ideas,” Stevenson said. “This way, when issues or developments arise, we already know each other and can work through it. The retail market is an interesting one and we all benefit from sharing what works best for each of us.”

Initially composed of members of the Wine Cellar group and their friends, the AME has grown to accommodate wholesalers like IVD and GVA and studios including Hush Hush Entertainment, Hustler Video and Wicked Pictures. It’s retail members come from all over the country including Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Florida, Maine and Texas.

All told, its membership represents more than 40 retail locations where adult goods are sold.

Members of the group first met in person in early 2008 in Chicago and went on to meet later that year in Mystic, Conn. and this year in May in Cleveland.

“Attendance has stayed consistent since the first meeting,” Stevenson reported. “The most important thing is retailer attendance. This year, I’ll start to incorporate all-adult stores in the group if for no other reason than we need retail members.”

AME’s meetings are part social function, part business conference.

At the group’s last meeting May 12-14, attendees had the opportunity for numerous meet-and-greets, including a trip to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, a tour and warehouse sale at GVA and group dinners.

Part of the business component has various members presenting discussion topics and sharing ideas. For example, Rob Ragan of All Boys Distribution suggested putting a rainbow sticker on a store’s front door to show you’re gay friendly, Hush Hush Entertainment/Shane’s World’s Nate Glass discussed ways to combat piracy; IVD’s Cee Cee Peters suggested giving away inexpensive DVDs with purchases as a “free gift” value add; and AAA News’ Sid Grieff cautioned retailers to be extra vigilant about ordering new product because he’s found that since the date of production is no longer required on the back of the box, certain companies are trying to sneak in DVDs with only one or two new scenes as a new release.

AME’s next meeting is slated for October in Atlantic City, N.J. to coordinate with IVD’s warehouse sale. The AME also dips its toes in legal issues and has discussed local zoning regulations across the country that effect adult retailers. The group has aligned itself with the Free Speech Coalition, of whom most of AME are members of, to keep an open channel of communication with regards to local political issues.

As for dealing with an uncooperative economy coupled with a changing preferred content delivery medium, Stevenson credits the cheaper price point of renting an adult DVD as opposed to purchasing it as the main reason his rental business has remained robust. “Simply, because of the economy, where a customer who feels the pinch might have bought a DVD, it’s more attractive now for him to just rent it for a couple bucks,” Stevenson reasoned.

Rental customers also benefit The Big DVD Superstore by keeping consistent foot traffic coming back in the store for returns. The upshot — upselling them each time they come back.

“We do a lot of rental business,” Stevenson said. “Most of the product that isn’t cataloged, we buy for rentals. Even though sales are down, rentals are up. My purchases of new releases for rentals certainly have not decreased in any way.”

Stevenson cites the amount of free content available on illegal tube sites as the most significant challenge adult retailers are faced with. He tries to combat that by bringing in about 100 new releases each week, “so no matter how fast movies get put on the Internet, I bring in as many new movies as possible.”

One promising avenue Stevenson pledges to explore is the sale of adult toys, novelties and lingerie, none of which he carries. He said the topic would be the focus of AME’s next meeting sometime next year.

Parties interested in joining AME are encouraged to call Stevenson directly at (315) 383-3968, or by email at dsteven3@twcny.rr.com.


LEGAL PERSPECTIVES

Randazza: Trump Victory, Big Prop 60 Win

On Tuesday afternoon, I boarded a transatlantic flight. Given all of the negativity in the 2016 presidential race, I was delighted that I would be absent for the results. I found both Donald Trump and... More »

Dissecting an $11.9M Affiliate Marketing Judgment

The Federal Trade Commission scored another major win in early October when the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling, requiring LeadClick Media LLC to pay an $11.9 million award. The... More »

Legal Protection for Amateur Shoots

Any adult industry professional who creates video content with actual first-time amateurs will come to an early knowledge that later performer regret is commonplace. Recognized performers who regularly... More »
XBIZ NEWSLETTERS
Stay informed of the latest industry developments. Get XBIZ newsletters delivered to your inbox. Subscribe today!
Enter email address:

* To manage existing subscriptions click here.






POPULAR PRODUCTS & SERVICES
Submit your press release to
multiple news outlets with 1 click.
Subscribe to RSS news feeds or
add free content to your website.
Access XBIZ news and articles
with your mobile device.
Access the latest issues of the industry's leading trade publications in digital form. View online or download for offline viewing.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Everything To Do With Sex Show

Jan 20 - Jan 22
Montréal, Québec

Everything To Do With Sex Show

Jan 27 - Jan 29
Halifax, Nova Scotia

The European Summit

Mar 04 - Mar 07
Barcelona-Sitges, Spain

The TEA Show

Mar 05 - Mar 06
Hollywood, CA
Everyday thousands of business professionals browse XBIZ's industry directory for quality products and services. Not listed yet? Your company could be losing potential new business. Submit your company today!
Use XBIZ RSS feeds to stay informed of the latest industry developments or as a content syndication tool for your website!