Fashion Show Returns to Castle Megastore

PHOENIX - Castle Megastore, a leading adult retailer, hosted its second annual "Night of Romance" fashion show Friday at its flagship store in Deer Valley.


Castle Megastore CEO and President Mark Franks told AVN Novelty Business the event's turnout was "phenomenal."


"It's an [18,500-square-foot] store with parking for over 200 cars," he said. "The turnout was so incredible, we filled up the parking lot, as well as the overflow areas. There aren't too many stores the size of ours that could pull this off."


Franks credits the turnout to Castle's marketing efforts and having exhibited at the recent Phoenix Bridal Expo.


"As a participant at the bridal show, we received a list of every registered attendee," he explained. "We did a mass mailing to those on the list about our ‘Night of Romance' fashion show and did mass marketing on the radio and local television station. We also had eight vendors that participated with kiosks in the store, and they were doing giveaways."


Dreamgirl International designer Donna Lackmeyer was on hand for the event and helped coordinate the trunk show, which Marks said compared to any fashion show held at a Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom store.


"As a lingerie designer, I have traveled the world in search of trends and have been in hundreds of lingerie shops," Lackmeyer told ANB. "I was really amazed with what I saw when I entered the store. They have an impressive variety of lingerie and just about anything else you might need for a romantic evening. It was my privilege to join them in presenting Dreamgirl's 2008 Valentine and Nuptial Collections on television and in a fashion show for their customers."


In addition to the fashion show, representatives from California Exotic Novelties, Doc Johnson, Earthly Body, Empowered Products, Kama Sutra, Pipedream Products, System JO, Topco Sales and WET International were on hand to give away product samples.


Al Bloom, director of marketing for Cal Exotics, told ANB he was overwhelmed by the turnout and ran out of promotional items only two hours into the event.


"Believe me: I had lots of stuff to give away," he said. "I would guess there were over 500 people in the store for the fashion show and another 200 to 300 that floated in before and after that. It was, without a doubt, one of the most-attended events of its kind [that I have ever attended]."


Bloom said it was a quality crowd, as opposed to a "bunch of thrill-seekers."


"Many were regular customers, and the ones that were not definitely will come back," he explained. "The [four] registers all had steady lines with people making purchases. I had the opportunity to demonstrate some of our newer items, and people were most receptive to the information, so much so that they actually bought what I was demonstrating."


Jonie Lee, sales representative for Doc Johnson said the turn out was beyond her expectations.


“I am thrilled that I was able to be a part of the festivities,” she said. “Once again the Castle management team has successfully helped in representing our industry with class and positivity.”

Bill Butler, a sales associate representing Earthly Body, told ANB it seemed as if one of every two people purchased something.


"The main thing I was demonstrating were our body candles," he said. "Some were hesitant to test the candle, but when I explained that the soy-based candle is only three degrees above body temperature, they seemed to warm up to the idea. About half the people who I presented the candles to purchased some."


Topco Sales Account Executive Tera Grengs said the store was packed with ladies and lovers, as well as entire bridal parties and other "curious individuals."


"Hundreds of people enthusiastically learned about new products and fun extras to spice up their lives," she told ANB. "Everything they ever had a question about was in one building: limos, lingerie, lubes, lotions, potions, toys and games. Castle did a wonderful job organizing it, and Topco was honored to be involved."


Local television station KTVK Channel 3 aired coverage from the event on a segment of its "Your Life A to Z" show.


Franks said this proves the companies are succeeding in their efforts to bring adult stores into a more positive light.


"In a declining market, it's all about finding new ways to bring in new business," he said. "I always like to do things to bring this industry into a more positive light. This is the future. The type of customer we're pulling in is different than most people are used to seeing in their [adult] stores. It's all in the branding, and this is how we separate ourselves from the competition. It gives people a reason to go to Castle Megastores."


For a picture gallery of the event, click here.