Couples looking to bring a spark back to their relationships have a new store in town to check out.
Lea’s Boutique, located on the Sterling Highway just north of Soldotna, opened in time for Valentine’s Day with the intention of being the ultimate destination for intimacy products on the Kenai Peninsula.
Owners Steve and Lea Stuber, who have been married for 10 years, plan to change the dirty label attached to adult shops by branching out and supplying something for everyone.
“We are a clean, comfortable store that anyone can feel comfortable coming in,” Steve Stuber said. “Couples intimacy is so important. You hear people married for 10-15 years and don’t have that spark anymore. We want them to come in here and buy something simple and put the snap back into their marriage.”
With more than 2,800 individual items in the store, people can find gifts for any occasion from lingerie, bathrobes, massage oils, body lotions, Liberator pillows as well as bachelorette party accessories and intimacy products.
Stuber said their intention is to make the front half of the store bright, clean, classy and inviting. The store does not sell any pornographic material. A “toy” room is separate and for adults only.
In three weeks, Lea’s will sell and fit bras, something hard to find on the peninsula, Stuber said. In addition to carrying regular and sports bras, in May they will have a full line of mastectomy and surgical bras, a new service for Alaskans, he said.
All seven store employees have been trained and certified for professional bra fitting. Lea’s will supply bra sizes hard to find, from band sizes ranging from 28 to 56 and cups up to size N.
Stuber said at their grand opening from Feb. 12-14, sales were amazing. He said business was three times what they projected and nearly five times as many customers in the store.
“After the first day of the sale, word got out we were a clean, nice store that people didn’t feel icky to go into,” he said. “These stores are becoming increasingly popular throughout the country. The dirty bookstore mentality is going away.”
Natasha Mallet, the store’s manager, said items have been flying off the shelf and she has had to reorder every day the past three weeks.
“We started out with two of everything then went up to six and I still can’t keep up,” she said. “It has been amazing.”
Lea Stuber said the education of the staff in being familiar with all the products is important. Being able to suggest items and inform customers on certain products goes a long way in making people more relaxed, she said.
The best selling item has been the selection of high-end lingerie from Rene Rofe, a sexy but affordable line, she said.
Steve Stuber said they carry plus size outfits up to 5X and have lingerie to cover up the midsection. He said he used to weigh 420 pounds and knows what it’s like to be a bigger person and not be able to shop for clothes.
“Just because a woman is heavier doesn’t mean she can’t be sexy,” he said.
Lea’s Boutique has a number of items available for men. In addition to bamboo loungewear, they carry a medical pump device to help guys who have prostate cancer or suffer from erectile dysfunction, he said.
In the toy room, Lea’s has a wide selection of massagers, including the LELO brand, which in a recent Cosmopolitan Magazine article was described as the best couple’s massager there has ever been, he said.
The Stubers became interested in opening an adult shop while spending their anniversary in Las Vegas last year. A friend and business partner in Minnesota owned a shop and recommended they check out the adult trade show to familiarize themselves with the products, Lea Stuber said.
After selecting Nalpack to supply all their products, the Stubers began renovation of the recently purchased two-story building, formerly a taxidermy shop. They purchased the building for $270,000 and have installed floor heating, a new boiler and are renovating the upstairs where they will sell the fitted bras.
Stuber said nearly 70 percent of women wear the wrong bra size, and without the proper support could have lower back issues. By having a professional bra fitting, those problems can be corrected, she said.
Kenai resident Alissa Seeley-Kipp said her shopping experience at Lea’s was enjoyable. She said she visited the store during their soft opening in late January and was pleased with the bright and inviting ambiance.
“I was impressed as soon as I walked in,” she said. “The selection is incredible and they are open to suggestions.”
She said the staff was friendly and knowledgeable, but their credit card machine wasn’t working so she had to take her purchase across the street to Tobacco Distress. The young man working at the tobacco shop rung up her discreet purchase graciously, she said.
Lea’s Boutique is currently setting up a website where customers can go online and have 20,000 items accessible to them. Steve Stuber said the website still allows customers to shop locally because it will be their credit card processing and people will not be redirected to another site, so nobody else would have their information. Customers will have the option to order from their home and have it delivered to their house.
Stuber said Lea’s Boutique is unlike any store in the state and they hope to provide something for everyone, while making them feel at ease.
“Customers will drive where this business heads,” he said. “The more they communicate with us the better we can do for them.”