Ménage à Main

by Anya Jaremko-Greenwold

The Fallen Angel is the only adult boutique, lingerie company OR costume store in town. They stock everything your filthy mind could possibly dream up, either online or in their store on Main (a new location). They’ve got sexy costumes (French maid, nurse), sex toys (stimulators for all male and female regions, vibrators of every shape and size, strap-ons), lotions, garters, pasties (shaped like foxes, aliens, marijuana leaves), supplies for bachelor and bachelorette parties (inflatable dolls, games), adult DVDs, condoms and lube, bondage accessories (collars, handcuffs, whips) … the list goes on. The strangest item on the Fallen Angel website is probably the “c*#k cage,” a bondage chastity device intended for a male.

The front section of the store supplies tons of underwear (and pre-Halloween, full racks of suggestive costumes) but you must be 18 to venture toward the back, where you’ll find the toys and videos. Of course, “a vibrator is seen every day by children in Spencer’s!” store owner Earl Colclough pointed out.

Getting into the business of pleasure Colclough bought The Fallen Angel in 2007 (the store opened in ’99). He assumed owning his own business would mean making his own schedule, permitting more time for family; but now he works more than anyone, with no other employees currently on the docket. He will be hiring for part-time nights and weekend help. Fortunately – for the sake of his sanity – the store has developed into an ardent personal passion. “We’re here to expand people’s ideas of romance and sensuality,” Colclough said. “Or to simply give them something nice to wear under their garments.” He has eventual ambitions of becoming a sex therapist or couples counselor, loving the process of helping people achieve carnal satisfaction. In our conversation, he often referenced the importance of communication and respect between consensual lovers.

Move to Main Ave.Until very recently, the store was located on East College Drive, next to Reruns and the College Drive Café. They’ve since moved to a brand new below-ground spot at 801½ Main Ave. (Eighth Street just west of Main Avenue), behind Silk Sparrow and underneath Joel’s. Colclough is excited about the increased foot traffic, with walk-ins and tourists who would’ve never ventured down College but are always traipsing up and down Main.

“We were looking to move downtown for seven years, but unless you’re a huge company with quite a bit of revenue to support the change, it’s just gonna drink you into bankruptcy,” Colclough said. “I was always looking for an off-the-Main-Avenue location, allowing people to have a discreet shopping experience.” Customers at the old location fretted about parking in front of the store, as someone could drive by and see their car (it’s a small town). Parking on College was also very limited, but parking abounds at the new locale, plus no one will know what store you came to peruse. The improved Fallen Angel features bigger fitting rooms, with a nice area for someone’s partner to sit and wait while they try things on.

When asked about controversy stemming from the move of a lascivious business into such prime Durango real estate, Colclough said sailing has been smooth. “I probably had more controversy – which died out immediately after I opened – over being 250 yards around the corner from a school,” he said of his East College address. Technically, adult stores are supposed to be situated in Bodo Park, but Fallen Angel doesn’t qualify as an adult shop because they sell a substantial amount of retail apparel; only 30 percent is “entertainment products” like toys and videos, while 70 percent is clothing.

Online shopping vs. in-store Colclough hopes to someday exceed his store revenue with online sales, but understands why customers appreciate a physical shop, touching and feeling items to see how they measure up. Still, there are far more options to be found on the Fallen Angel’s website, and the store only has so many colors and sizes in stock.

To be precise, there are 13,000 products available online at thefallenangel.com. Ninety-five percent of the website’s inventory is already in Colorado, and most can ship within two to three business days. Your order could even be shipped to the store for pick-up. All shipping is inconspicuous (no “Fallen Angel” label on the box) and each online order is guaranteed for one year, with refund or exchange options. Just be warned: You can’t take health items back to the store, as Colclough doesn’t want to accidentally put a used sex toy back on the shelves.

He is modeling the online business after a U.K. company that also offers a one-year guarantee on all online purchases, no questions asked. “It’s something in the industry that had never been done before they did it,” Colclough said. “I believe in great customer service.” In the future, to set his commerce apart further, he plans to let people customize their own vibrators (another a rare treat in the industry).

Most popular productsThe store’s most regularly-purchased goods are apparel (lingerie sets, costumes, panties, men’s underwear) and adult toys (primarily smaller, non-intimidating, first-timer, non-phallic vibrators). The Fallen Angel carries an abundance of higher-quality bras also sold at Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom’s, better than those you might find at JC Penney’s or Walmart, said Colclough. “Everybody in Durango has complained, like, ‘We need a good, everyday bra that is not a super fancy bra set,’” he said. “So we’re excited to carry those. And a lot of men don’t want crappy underwear like Hanes or Fruit of the Loom.”

As far as sex toys go, the famed Hitachi vibrator or “magic wand” is forever a clientele favorite. The Fallen Angel also sells a cheaper, knock-off version on its website. Colclough notes how many people buy the Hitachi not for sexual satisfaction, but because the wand gives off powerful vibrations ideal for self-backrubs.

As for the “first-timer” vibrators, Colclough says plenty of customers don’t know what they want when they first come into the store, but it’s fun for couples to explore together. “Don’t jump into the deep end and get some $200 item that’s app-controlled or has all these bells and whistles,” Colclough suggests. “Get something simple between $14 and $25 and communicate with your partner. See what they like.” He recommends glass as the “most hygienic and least porous of all materials that can be used for a sex toy,” adding that you can put glass products in a pot of boiling water to sanitize easily.

Fetishes of DurangoSo what’s the most common fetish flourishing in Durango? Based on the stuff locals buy from him, Colclough says “restraints,” a form of bondage. You might be picturing a torture chamber outfitted in whips, chains and leather, something out of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” but Colclough would assure you it’s not nearly so intimidating. “If your partner pulls your hair, that’s a form of restraint, and that’s something most people with healthy sex lives might enjoy,” he said.

Some of The Fallen Angel’s bestsellers are Japanese silk ropes and stick-to-itself fetish tape (Pleasure Tape), that doesn’t pull at the skin or your body hair. Furry handcuffs are also good, as they are gentler on wrists than regular cuffs. “A lot of people get them as gag gifts, but then it’s their introduction to restraints, and they get more comfortable with it,” Colclough said. So the next time you receive a bachelorette goody bag, you could be on your way to discovering your newest erotic obsession. It actually makes sense that Durangoans like restraints – our town swarms with rock climbers, people who are already comfortable with tying or being strapped into ropes.

The customersIt’s a little surprising that the sole sex shop in a small mountain town would be met with so little adversity, but Colclough’s customers have been overwhelmingly supportive. “Because I’m so open and professional regarding their questions, they don’t seem to be embarrassed, unless there’s somebody else in the store while they’re asking,” he said. “They don’t want anybody to know their private life. I’m like a therapist or a bartender.”

Occasionally, the store will receive a call from teenagers with queries like, ‘Do you sell 12-inch dildos? Do they come in black?’” Colclough can tell it’s a crank call from their wavering voice and giggling in the background, and usually tells the pranksters to come in and check for themselves. If they call again, he offers to call their number back with the information, and asks if he can speak with their parents. They hang up right away.

Not everyone is dignified, as is to be expected. Intoxicated customers have entered the store twice before. Some people have been too forward with employees, asking of the lingerie or costumes, ‘Can I see how this looks on you?’” (Naturally, the answer is “no”). Once a man was hanging out in the back room toy area, and had for some reason tucked the bottom of his shirt up into his collar, exposing his belly. “He was just dancing,” remembers Colclough. “Not like in a sexual way, but just moving his arms. He was asked to leave.” Another time, a customer was upset they wouldn’t take returns on used health items, and as he left, he chucked the sex toy at the door. But besides these minor incidents, nothing outrageous has gone down. “You would think there would be a lot more weird stuff, but no,” Colclough admitted. “I think it’s due to our well-lit, professional atmosphere.”


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