AVN Inducting 5 Into Hall of Fame-Pleasure Products Branch

LOS ANGELES—Five leaders in the adult pleasure products business have been chosen for induction into the AVN Hall of Fame-Pleasure Products Branch. The induction officially takes place at the AVN Awards, slated for Jan. 19 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Selected as the third class of inductees are Dennis Paradise of Paradise Marketing, Mark Franks of Castle Megastore, and Teddy Rothstein, Irwin Schwartz and Elliot Schwartz of Nasstoys/Novelties by Nasswalk.

Dennis Paradise started Paradise Marketing in 1978, but didn't settle exclusively in the adult world until a few years later.

"In the beginning, I dabbled in a lot of things," he said. "I made golf clubs, sold spas and hot tubs ... just a little bit of everything. But I had always had ties to the condom business, and when I brought in K-Y lubricant into the adult market, things sort of took off from there."

It wasn't long before AstroGlide selected Paradise Marketing for its entry into adult, and from there, "I don't think I looked back," Paradise said.

In the years since, Paradise Marketing has introduced mainstream products into adult, and vice versa. There is a trust that Paradise marketing understands their needs and the goals they want to accomplish. Even as recently as this past year, Trojan partnered with Paradise Marketing to bring their Midnight Collection of vibrators, a first for the leader in condom manufacturing, into adult stores and boutiques.

"I have an understanding of how a bigger company thinks," Paradise explained. "I can talk to them in a business language that they get."

Paradise Marketing has a reputation as being one of the best in the business, evidenced by the fact the company continues to run strong after 35 years in business.

"I am gratified for that reputation; I worked hard for that," Paradise said. "When you are the best, you can't let service fall, you can't let communication fall and you can't just let prices rise. I always figured that as long as my customers are making money, then I'll do just fine. When you get to the top, that's when you need to step on the accelerator."

Joining Paradise as a 2013 AVN Hall of Fame-Pleasure Products Branch inductee is Mark Franks.

Franks is the president and CEO of Castle Megastore Group Inc., a multi-state retail operation headquartered in Tempe, Ariz. With more than 25-years of experience in the adult industry, Franks has been a market leader in video production and distribution in the United States and abroad.

He also co-founded, built and operated a toy manufacturing facility with global distribution. Franks has owned and operated a mail-order business, chain retail stores, show clubs and video distribution in Australia. He is well known in both the U.S. and Australia for his aggressive prosecution of copyright infringement.

Franks took over leadership of Castle Megastore Group Inc. in 2003 and has been the driving force behind the revitalization of the Castle brand, turning it into a powerhouse in erotic retail.

His leadership and efforts have not gone unnoticed, either. He and his store have received several AVN Awards and "O" Awards nominations, including for Retail Chain of the Year, winning an "O" Award in 2010 and an AVN Award in 2011. Marks and Castle Megastore were also named to AVN's Top 50 Adult Retailers, one of the Top 21 "CEOs of Sex" in Bloomberg's BusinessWeek and one of Porn's Top 14 Power Brokers by CNBC, all in 2011. Additionally, he was nominated in 2010 for Ernest & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, as well as several other nominations and awards in the industry.

"I'm honored to have been chosen to receive this award," Franks said.

Rounding out the 2013 inductees are Teddy Rothstein, Irwin Schwartz and Elliot Schwartz.

Rothstein and his cousins, the Schwartzes, founded Nasstoys more than 35 years ago when the trio began manufacturing and distributing Spanish Fly liquid in a variety of flavors. At the time, they were located in a small facility in downtown Manhattan and also making sexual enhancement pills.

"Back in the '80s, New York City's Times Square was a red light district, triple-X playground," Nasstoys President Elliot Schwartz told AVN in a previous interview. "The market for novelties and sexual paraphernalia in adult bookstores was ripe. New York City was the home of Plato's Retreat, Studio 54, and The Hellfire Club-a perfect testing ground for merchandise of a risqué nature."

This "perfect testing ground," consisting of retail shops and adult newspapers, provided an ideal venue for the fledgling Nasstoys partners to begin importing and packaging goods from Asia for sale in adult bookstores.

"In the early '70s, it was illegal to sell dildos and sexual novelties in New York City," Schwartz said. "After a visit to the West Coast where this merchandise was being sold in stores, Ted, Irwin, and I put the schlongs in four Times Square stores, took the bust and won the case!"

In the next three decades the company would see three major expansions from lower Manhattan to the Brooklyn waterfront and, finally, to their current location in New Jersey, directly across the Hudson River from New York. Nasstoys's catalog now boasts more than 1,000 top-selling items.

For more information on the AVN Awards, which are celebrating their 30th anniversary, visit AVNAwards.com.