An adult boutique on the corner of King and Market Streets is the new spot in Leesburg.
Le Tache, or “the spot” in French, opened Jan. 5, with mannequins donning lingerie and hosiery in its window displays, attracting the eyes of downtown’s passersby.
“I’m shocked this is open in Leesburg, it’s interesting,” said Leesburg resident Shannon Lewis-Jackson. Lewis-Jackson and her coworker, Sheree Sledd crossed the street from their jobs at the Loudoun County Courthouse to peruse Le Tache’s selection Tuesday afternoon.
“I have something to do at lunch,” Lewis-Jackson said.
Le Tache trades mainly in lingerie and hosiery, but its retail component also extends to lotions, adult toys and contraceptives.
Owner Shannon Biggs decided to open a “couples boutique” in Leesburg to bring some excitement to downtown. Biggs also owns an adult boutique in Old Town Alexandria, which she says has the same feel as Leesburg and is very successful.
Leesburg has seen an increase in activity level in the retail and commercial office absorption recently. In the last half of 2009, the town issued 57 new business licenses. During the same time period in 2010, Leesburg dished out 67 new business licenses, according to the town’s economic development office.
“The occupied retail space that Le Tache filled downtown is an indication there has been an uptick in the retail economy over the recent months, and that is a positive sign for the Leesburg [economy],” said Marantha Edwards, Leesburg’s economic development manager.
Biggs has been in retail for 22 years, so she gauges her retail offerings to what is selling. Lingerie sells.
Le Tache has hardwood floors, sheer window dressings and antique chairs. The shop has one room selling women’s lingerie, underwear and hosiery. The most expensive item, a sequined, red corset has a $170 price tag. But, most underwear sells for less than $10. An adjoining room sells adult toys, videos and lotions. The X-rated merchandise is shielded behind drapery, and clientele must be 18 years old to enter.
On a Leesburg, Va., Facebook page, local residents were drawing lines over the new retail store.
“I contend that downtown Leesburg needs to cater a bit more toward the young, married, professional demographic. They are the ones with more ‘disposable income’ who would be more inclined to support the local economy if it provided a more lively environment,” wrote Heather McCarthy Evans. “… If residents were more open minded about the types of businesses opening up, maybe we’d have a few less antique shops and a few more trendy, up and coming locales in our area.”
But, the store rubbed many residents the wrong way.
Kelli Tangney Williams wrote that she loves Leesburg’s safe, clean and healthy environment. She said she’s worried that an “adult store” is polluting the downtown area.
“I don’t want to have to avert my children’s eyes every time we go to church or Ida Lee,” Williams said. “Please do not give this new store your business. Let’s keep Leesburg a hometown we can be proud of.”
Biggs vies that Le Tache’s retail offerings are similar to stores residents can frequent in any shopping mall, including Victoria’s Secret and Spencer’s, which sells lingerie and adult toys.
Overall, she’s had people tell her that they’re glad she’s opened a store in this area. The closest adult boutique is in Tysons Corner.
“We’re not trying to be the black eye in Leesburg,” Biggs said. “The store is pretty tasteful.”
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This article was first published by Hannah Hager on LoudounTimes.com.