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Feminist Sex Toy Shop Babeland Sells to New Owner After 25 Years

 Sex toy chain Babeland has sold its four New York and Seattle locations to rival Good Vibrations.
Sex toy chain Babeland has sold its four New York and Seattle locations to rival Good Vibrations.
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Babeland

PARK SLOPE — The founders of high-end sex toy shop Babeland are calling it quits and selling to Bay Area rival Good Vibrations after 25 years of hawking feel good adult toys. 

Babeland's four stores — including its Park Slope, Lower East Side, and SoHo locations — will keep their name and feminist spirit, but will come under the ownership of the San Francisco sex toy purveyor starting late August, according to Babeland co-founder Claire Cavanah, who said the sale comes after "a few rough years" of business. 

"We reached a point where it was difficult for us to grow," said Cavanah, who founded the Seattle-based chain with partner Rachel Venning. "Our stores are making money every year, but we just couldn't quite get over that fourth store." 

But with a shared mission statement of sex positivity, Cavanah feels Good Vibrations is the ideal company to carry on Babeland's message.

"Good vibes is the business that is the closest to Babeland in mission and openness — it really is the best company we could have sold to," said Cavanah.

Babeland opened its first store in Seattle in 1993 and came to New York City in 1998 with a store on the Lower East Side. A SoHo outpost followed and the Park Slope location, at 462 Bergen St. between Flatbush and Fifth avenues, opened its doors in 2008.

The chain's Seattle and New York locations will bolster the reach of Good Vibrations, which already has nine stores peppered across California and Massachusetts, and the Babeland brand will stay intact with the sex toy boutiques keeping their staff and classic pink and blue decor, said a Good Vibrations representative. 

"There is no intent on our part to change Babeland’s branding. They already have a strong identity. Nothing there is broken," said Carol Queen, a sexologist with Good Vibrations. "The way Babeland functions in the world is not going to look super different to customers. We value Babeland and are glad to have them in our family." 

That value extends to Babeland's 2016 contract with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Unionmaking the chain the nation's fist sex shop to unionize. Good Vibrations plans to honor that landmark agreement, said Queen. 

"That is in no way a deal breaker for Good Vibrations," said Queen. "We're just going to see how things go." 

Babeland's founders may be stepping away from the business, but they're not departing from the sex toy industry just yet.

"I still feel like the project of Babeland is genuinely good and I’m still interested in it. Sometimes I think of creating a podcast about ordinary sexuality," said Cavanah. "I guess we'll see. We're excited to move on to the next chapter."

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union did not respond for comment.