PORTLAND -- The popular new novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, by ELJames is not only selling like crazy, its also helping businesses in the greater Portland area.
At the erotic 'Fantasy' store on West Burnside, MaryKay Taketa spruces up the deliberately feminine friendly displays. One room over, devices found in the book are selling fast.
This is a flogger, she said, holding a short whip-looking instrument. It's one of many that are suddenly popular. Also known as a 'Cat of 9 Tails' but it can also include any sort of paddles or whips and spanking devices, she said.
Sales of all things spanking related increased 117 percent at Fantasy s five stores over the same three months of last year, according to Taketa. She attributes that directly to the book. Taketa believes the erotic novel took off because a bigger portion of our society is becoming more relaxed about sexuality.
K-Y's commercials on national television and Brookstone selling personal massagers, it really is over the past decade slowly become more acceptable to discuss and buy and be curious about, she said.
Over at the Heathman Hotel in downtown Portland, the doormen with their beefeater costumes made it into the book and that's not all.
The hotel is mentioned 19 time-plus, in the first issue alone, said General Manager Chris Erickson. He's not sure how the hotel and rooms like the symphony suite got featured so prominently in the book. But he's glad it did.
Erickson said it's driving new business.
Any hotel in the world, this is very unique. The fact that they've sold ten million copies, that a book is being downloaded every second of each day and that the momentum does not seem to be waning at all, is actually growing. It's very unique, he said.
Chapter five in the book specifically mentions the sun sculpture on the headboard in the suite. Other sections mention the elevator and the bar. The hotel created two separate customer packages related to the book, one includes a tie similar to Mr. Grey s.
Not far away at Spartacus, the buzz from the book is evident as well. Sesha Brown said Fifty Shades of Grey seems to be prompting a wider range of women to check out the store.
Yah, we're seeing a broader range from not just 20-year olds and 30-year olds, but now 40's, 50's even 60's and plus. You know, we're definitely seeing every age group in here, she said.
Some of the mannequins in the store were decorated with themes inspired by the book. And discussions seem to be making more and more moms curious.
We've seen a lot of groups of moms having cocktail hour, maybe across the street in the Pearl District, and you know, they wander over and have fun playing with some of the different items we have on our shelves, Brown said.