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Good Vibrations (business)

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Template:Infobox Company Good Vibrations is a sex toy business based in San Francisco. It operates three retail stores in the San Francisco Bay Area, and one in Brookline, MA, a mail-order business, an e-commerce website, and three publishing companies: Down There Press, Passion Press and Sexpositive Productions. The company's corporate name is Open Enterprises, Inc.

History Edit

Good Vibrations was founded in 1977 by sex therapist and educator Joani Blank a graduate of Oberlin College, University of Hawaii and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Initially established with the goal of being a sex-positive and woman-centered alternative to the 'adult' bookstores of the time, Good Vibrations offered sex information and education and featured erotica and books about sexual health and pleasure. A notable part of the store was the display of antique vibrators, which became a tourist draw --- known as 'the antique vibrator museum.'

The business grew beyond books to encompass products such as sex toys and erotic videos. Good Vibrations began to offer seminars and workshops on sex and sexual health. Many notable persons have been employed by Good Vibrations, including sex educators Anne Semans, Cathy Winks, Violet Blue, and Susie Bright, author and sexologist Carol Queen, activist and San Francisco Police Commissioner Theresa Sparks, and founders of other sex-positive businesses.

In 1992, Blank sold Good Vibrations to the workers (including herself) incorporating it as a worker cooperative. In 1994, Blank left the company to pursue other interests. In 2006, Good Vibrations opened a store in Brookline, Massachusetts, its first location outside of the San Francisco Bay Area.

In 1995, Good Vibrations declared May to be National Masturbation Month, to raise awareness of masturbation and sexual health across the country. The company is a notable sponsor of LGBT events.

General manager Beth Doyle left the company in 2005 and Theresa Sparks became the new manager. The following year the Board of Directors and Sparks determined that the cooperative model no longer matched their needs. The cooperative voted to become a California corporation and did so in February of 2006[1].

In 2007, Good Vibrations began developing new Women Like Me, a public education campaign on women's issues such as body image, breast health, anxiety, and sexuality after 50. Project supporters include Lyon-Martin Health Services, UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women's Health, and National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Financial pressure and sale of company Edit

Facing increasing competition and a desire to expand operations, the company restructured as a worker-owned general business corporation in March 2006. Good Vibrations' Internet sales, which had initially been successful and at one time accounted for two thirds of its income, began to suffer as mass-market retailers Amazon.com and Drugstore.com began to carry adult merchandise. The company also faced competition from small independent adult entertainment websites.[2] Facing a cash crisis, the company appealed on its website for potential investors to enable it to buy inventory for the 2007 holiday season. In September, 2007, the company was purchased by adult novelty wholesaler GVA-TWN, which also owns 50 adult retail stores in the Midwest and affiliate program PECash.[2]

Before the sale, the Board of Directors included Margaret Cho, Donna Daniels, Charlie Glickman, Carol Queen, Linda Shaw, Theresa Sparks, and James Williamson. Both companies announced that there were no immediate plans to lay off workers or change the company's management.[2]

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