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Priape closes all four Canadian stores

News

Priape closes all four Canadian stores

A locksmith who did not want to be identified changes the locks on Priape's Toronto store.
IMAGE 1 OF 1
Gay retailer blames filing for bankruptcy protection on ban on popper sales — but company’s financial predicament is more complicated

Priape, Canada’s leading gay store and sex shop, has closed its stores.

Denis Leblanc, general manager at Priape Inc, confirmed that Priape’s four stores across Canada — Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver — closed their doors Oct 21 at 8am Eastern Standard Time.

The company has been under bankruptcy protection since June 27. Leblanc says the closings affect 58 employees.

A fixture of gay villages, Priape says it has been struggling since Health Canada demanded retailers take poppers off the shelves.

In June, just before the Pride season, Health Canada issued a warning asking retailers to stop selling and distributing alkyl nitrites or, as they are more commonly known on the party scene, the popular drug “poppers.”

“For us that represented a huge amount of sales and profit, so that’s what triggered it all,” Leblanc says. “It’s not so much percentage of sales, but the gross profit it brought in, and proportionately it was very significant.”

Although poppers are not considered a narcotic in Canada, and possession of alkyl nitrates is not illegal, they are considered a drug, and their sale is regulated by the Food and Drug Act. Unauthorized sales of the drug can be punished with jail terms of up to three years and fines of up to $5,000.

On Oct 21, Leblanc said he will provide more information “tomorrow or before the end of the week.” He says he’s hopeful that the company can still be saved.

He says there is still a chance that the stores, or some of the stores, could remain open. “That possibility exists. I can’t say anymore about this right now.”

But it appears Priape’s financial woes and debt started long before the June ban on popper sales.

On June 27, Priape sent a “Notice of Intention To Make a Proposal” to its list of creditors owed more than $250.

Traditionally, companies make such a proposal to avoid filing for bankruptcy, hoping creditors will work out a pennies-on-the-dollar settlement for debts owed. The action sometimes provides a company with the opportunity and time to restructure.

As of the June 27 filing, Priape owed 106 companies $687,650.30 — debts that would have accrued long before Health Canada’s announcement in June cracking down on popper sales.  

Among creditors listed on the June statement are many familiar brand names in gay retail: Mr S Leather, in San Francisco, owed $28,709; Nasty Pig clothing company, owed $11,985; silicone toy manufacturer Ox Balls, owed $35,347; G-Star jeans, owed $13,504; and Timoteo underwear, owed $13,588.

Pink Triangle Press, publisher of Xtra and dailyxtra.com, was owed $4,200.

Debt to two large financial institutions added up to just over $143,000. Priape owed $67,641 to American Express and $75,634 to Visa Desjardins.

We do not know how that debt standing may have changed since the June filing; however, on Sept 9, the company applied to Quebec’s Superior Court Commercial Division for a “Notice to Creditors for an Extension of Time.” Priape was granted a 45-day extension, making the new settlement deadline Oct 24.

Priape closed the stores three days before the Oct 24 deadline. 

Priape Montreal was the first to open, in 1974. The company has since expanded to Toronto, in 1998, Calgary, in 2004, and Vancouver, in 2005, selling DVDs, books, clothing, leather, sex toys and other products that appeal to gay consumers.

In June, the founder of Priape, Bernard Rousseau, was owed $4,167. Rousseau sold the chain to the current owners about 10 years ago.

Xtra is following the story.

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Comments

calgary store closing
as a straight tho bi situational calgary gal i often shopped at the priape store on 17 ave...even was thrilled to design and have sum special add ons to some cuffs for my boy toy to wear for me...and was hoping to yet again visit the store for a few lil stocking stuffers for upcoming xmas...and saw the store empty as i drove by...but hoped they had moved to another location here in calgary...not so...tho their phone msg was working late last time and i did leave a msg...

reading this article i see why they have closed...and damn...but can only support owners on their decision..

this creates a huge "hands on" purchasing void in our city
You can buy poppers here www.poppersrus.co.uk
Internet's No1 www.poppersrus.co.uk
tough on crime or re-defining crime?
outlaw poppers, don't smoke a joint, fill out your census form no matter your age. keep that senate gravy train rolling!
Pounce, Prowler!
This would be an excellent time for Prowler in the UK to take over Priape. (Heresy?)
At least they didn't blame Loblaws or "fickle" gay men
Unlike other failed businesses on Church Street, at least the manager of Priape had the decency not to blame the store's closing on the popularity of the Loblaws store at Church and Carlton or "fickle" gay men.
Banned drug = closure?
So, a company whose sales relied on an illegal substance is going bankrupt? So be it. You can't function legally, good, get out.
Products that appeal to gay consumers?
Obviously these products do not appeal to gay consumers, by virtue of the bankruptcy. Instead, this is more evidence that the "queer" theory promoted by the likes of members in Queer Ontario ... if a 'fail'. Back in l974, the hard core queer tried to influence and determine a certain brand of being gay, they even got away with it for a few decades. But now, we see their voice and their philosophy has failed. LGB members of the community have clearly not gone in the direction Queer'ologists (including Xtra!) had hoped. Yet, every new person that comes in on the scene must contend with these zealots who relate to the Occupy Movement (yet another fail) and make life difficult for anyone outside their marginalized group. Note: Brandon Matheson is in the byline, clearly $4,200 he authorized for Priape was a fail too.
Corrrection
* Queer Ontario ... if a 'fail' should read, "is" a fail.
Denis Leblanc
LeBlanc's answer demonstrates that he thinks people here are stupid.