The company's founder, Phil Harvey, dreams of opening as many as more stores nationwide in the next few years. Retail remains an inherently risky business. One of the blessings of pornography is that the standard distribution model--a mix of catalogs and the Internet--has fairly low fixed costs. He enjoys this reknown both because of his philanthropy, which now extends to nine countries, and because "he treats people well. For Harvey, the most foreign aspect of it is that it is capital intensive. From a school project, he got the idea to sell condoms by mail order in the U.
Amateurs offer lots of hard-core stuff online, and deep-pocketed media companies like Comcast and Time Warner are distributing soft-core material over their vast networks. The performer has drawn a crowd of about 80, equally split between men and women. While the advent of the Internet has created more porn consumption, many porn companies are struggling. He enjoys this reknown both because of his philanthropy, which now extends to nine countries, and because "he treats people well. But once Hartley and another leading lady named Carmen Luvana were brought in to promote the videos, "the response was enormous" from all kinds of shoppers, Christian says. They are the holy grail of the industry these days, Connelly explains, because their tastes are said to dictate porn spending among couples. The company's founder, Phil Harvey, dreams of opening as many as more stores nationwide in the next few years. Later, Hartley signs autographs and poses for Polaroids. Trouble was, the stores weren't generating nearly enough foot traffic. But neither of these ventures offers the potential rewards of the brick-and-mortar stores, including a truly national brand name. These large players are particularly dangerous to entrepreneurs like Harvey because they enjoy access to the public capital markets, while he does not. The Harvard alum started the company in , at the same time he was studying for a master's in public health. She blindfolds a slim, tall college student, sits him in a wing chair, and caresses him with a feather. Women, specifically, are the new customers that the company has zeroed in on as it fine-tunes its retail offerings. Retail remains an inherently risky business. Sex and the Strip Mall An entrepreneur bets that porn is ready to go mass retail. From a school project, he got the idea to sell condoms by mail order in the U. In the early days, he ran a small shop in Chapel Hill, a quaint college town filled with white churches and leafy lanes. SUVs troll the parking lot. Nor do they pose the risk. Digital piracy is one reason for the slowdown, but ultimately, the big problem seems to be that Harvey's willingness to sell things other people wouldn't--long his competitive advantage--is suddenly commonplace. For Harvey, the most foreign aspect of it is that it is capital intensive. When a fan asks for a hug, she encourages him to squeeze her butt. Harvey's reputation is that of "one of the heroes in the porn industry," says Tim Connelly, publisher of Adult Video News. No, the local Radio Shack hasn't begun sponsoring a sex club. He also learned that porn-star appearances are a must. So far, Harvey admits, stores aren't "returning the kinds of profits that we hoped they would at this point in their evolution.
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