Pure Pleasure Megastore Wins License Dispute

Matt O'Conner
CRYSTAL CITY, Mo. — The Pure Pleasure Megacenter is once again open for business, at least for the time being.

Hoping to avoid a messy legal battle, the city council has issued a business license to the adult book and video store just three days after a judge ordered the store closed.

Pure Pleasure has been a source of controversy and heated debate for several weeks in the small Jefferson County town.

Under pressure from residents who contended the store would attract criminal activity, Mayor Tom Schilly last month blocked store owner Don Kleinhans’ requests for a license, claiming inadequate lighting.

Kleinhans challenged the denial, contending the store’s floor plan complied with all city ordinances and that he had filed all the appropriate paperwork.

“We tried to talk, we tried to negotiate, but they just refused to even work with us,” Kleinhans said, adding that Schilly rejected the appeal without providing a direct and legal reason why the store could not operate in the community.

Kleinhans then appealed to the City Council to help resolve the matter.

Frustrated with the lack of response and hoping to force the issue into court, Kleinhans, at the urging of his attorneys, decided on March 16 to open the store even without a license, and business was brisk.

“Obviously, there is a silent majority that is happy we are here and ready to buy our product,” Kleinhans said.

The move did get the courts involved. On March 18, just two days after Pure Pleasure opened, Judge Gary P. Kramer ordered the store shut down and scheduled a full hearing for March 28. He noted, however, that he expected the City Council to provide Kleinhans with a response to his appeal.

The city council apparently took Kramer’s orders seriously. Yesterday, the council issued the license, citing that it had no valid reason to keep Pure Pleasure from opening. The license came with one condition, however. The store will not be allowed to have private viewing booths inside.

The Community Interest Voice, a group that has staged several town meeting protests against the store, said they plan to picket the store.

Ironically, Kleinhans believes the publicity surrounding the license dispute, and the possibility of picketers, will be a huge boon to his business.

“We’ve run into this stuff before,” Kleinhans said. “We had a store in Kentucky where it happened, and what intrigues me is our store in Louisville did fourfold [in sales] what the other stores have done within the first six months. The only thing I can attribute it to is the number of protestors. The more protestors we had, the more media coverage we received. Ultimately, what it does is give us about $10 million in advertising.”