ADI's Sherwood Buys Erostar

Saying he wanted to put the rumors to rest, ADI Distributors owner Tom Sherwood has confirmed he has bought out Erostar, a Simi Valley-based company in which he held a partial interest, and which he calls "one of the newest and fastest growing" adult novelty manufacturers, for an undisclosed amount of money.

"Just say lots of money," Sherwood told AVN with a chuckle April 2. But he also said it was time to end the speculation once and for all. "Everybody started putting out rumors," he said. "Michael Warner from Great Western he said, 'Tom, you better make a statement.' And I don't like making statements, but I don't like rumors being out there, either."

Sherwood's Erostar partner, Mark Franks, wanted to try other directions and ideas, and "made me an offer to buy him out, so I bought him out." He had nothing but warm words for Franks. "I wish (him) a lot of luck," he said. "He's a very hard worker. I always wish him a lot of luck in whatever he's going to do."

But the chance to buy out Erostar also brought out the artist in Sherwood, who spent six years studying art formally and admitted he never really lost his love and taste for artistic endeavors. "This gives me the chance to create new things and do things I went to school for," he said.

Sherwood also said he made the deal as himself and for himself, not as a new ADI property. "And, of course, a company like (Erostar) needs a lot of cash flow, which I do have, I have the money and let's say the wherewithal to take Erostar to a higher level."

So what does he do to begin reaching toward that level? "My immediate plan? New products, more and better ways to help promote the adult bookstores, and to look into the market over in Europe and sell more in Europe," he said. He said Erostar's current European market share is about ten percent, and he wants to push it up to thirty percent as best he can.

Erostar was created five years ago and now "probably has over six hundred products," Sherwood said. He plans to divide his time evenly between Erostar in California and his other business interests based in Philadelphia. Though he made the Erostar deal as an individual, Sherwood said the deal will help his other businesses in due course.

"I own quite a few stores, and I know products, and we need lots of products for our stores, and we need a way to bring in new customers by adding new products," he said. "But the truth is, the loss leaders, the crazy stuff, brings people in, but the old faithful fifty items, they sell over and over again."

Sherwood plans no radical changes for the company, which may help account for why others in the adult industry - including fellow adult noveltymaker Scott Tucker of Topco Sales, plus figures like Susan from Swedish Erotica and Rob Braverman - called Sherwood as soon as news of the Erostar deal was confirmed.

"What was really nice was, I received a phone call from every major manufacturer...They know I'm a team player, and that I'm going to do what's right for the adult community," he said. "They called me very quickly, and they like the idea that I took over."