Jimmy Flynt: Naples, Fla., SOB Law Is Outdated

NAPLES, Fla. — Jimmy Flynt describes his Florida store as a "classy boutique" that just sells lingerie, shoes, oils and marital health-and-wellness devices.

But county officials have told him that the three-month-old Flynt's Sexy Gifts is a sexually oriented business and not permitted to operate at its strip mall location in North Naples, Fla.

As a result, Flynt's business has been found noncompliant by county officials after six inspections, and his landlord, Hovland Inc., has sued to evict him.

"This law is outdated," Flynt told XBIZ on Monday. "In conservative Collier County, [enforcement of the ordinance] has gone on for some time. But business changes, people change, and laws should change too."

Collier County's Sexually Oriented Business Location and Regulation Ordinance was placed into law in 1991 after the then-local chapter of Morality in Media wanted to prevent a gentlemen's club from opening up in Naples.

The ordinance outlaws videos, novelties and books that include depictions of genitalia, buttocks and nipples. And, no more 25 percent of its inventory can be sexually oriented.

Now Flynt, who says he's compliant with the ordinance, has tapped a Fort Lauderdale attorney to litigate the latest kerfuffle so that he can continue operations in Naples.

"We have high-tech merchandise, like some brands from Lelo, and we truly believe that it's time to get away from the language we've used in the past 30 years," Jimmy Flynt said. "The merchandise is health-and-wellness products or, as I like to call it, marital aides."

With the eviction suit going forward, the store faces another inspection on Aug. 23. Its landlord faces a $500 penalty and $1,000 in daily fines, as well as misdemeanor prosecution

It's not the first legal challenge for Flynt's Sexy Gifts in its short history. Flynt, who has opened two other businesses in Kentucky, recently was sued by brother Larry over use of the family name in the Florida retail operation. That case is pending.