Love Stuff, also known as Nancy's Love Stuff, is a chain of stores specializing in clothing, lingerie, costumes, shoes, plus books and videos on sex and sexual aids. The chain has one store in the Birmingham district, located at 1568 Montgomery Highway in Hoover. From 2005 to 2007, Hoover city officials were involved in an attempt to have the store closed or relocated.
The Hoover location opened in December 2004. It is one of three of the chain's stores in Alabama, the others being in Oxford (Calhoun County) and Montgomery. The majority of the store's space holds clothing, costumes, lingerie, and shoes. Originally, minors were not allowed in the store at all, but in early 2007, most of the explicit books, videos, and devices were moved to an enclosed room in the back of the store. Now minors are allowed in the store, but only adults are allowed to enter the back room, which takes up approximately 25% of the store's floor space.
On January 18, 2005, the Hoover City Council passed a resolution declaring the store a public nuisance. Hoover also filed a lawsuit, claiming the store violated a 1998 state law banning the sale of "any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs." A lawsuit challenging the law from several people around the state prevented enforcement until late 2007. When the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the matter, Love Stuff began requiring buyers of such items to sign a statement saying they were purchased for "medical, scientific, educational, legislative, judicial or law enforcement purpose[s]," exemptions provided for in the law. The store notes that stress relief is a legitimate medical purpose.
In the meantime, Hoover modified its suit to specify a different provision of the 1998 law which prohibits operation of an "adult-only enterprise within 1,000 feet of a church, . . . daycare center, . . . private residence, or any other place frequented by minors." Hoover's lawyers provided an aerial photo showing that within that distance of Love Stuff are approximately 50 houses, a church, a day care center and two playgrounds. The store's lawyers counter that it is not an adult-only store, but a clothing store anyone is allowed in; minors are only restricted from the back room.
The case was heard by Jefferson County Circuit Judge Robert Vance Jr without a jury. Judge Vance inspected the store on October 11, 2007, before business hours. Both sides believed the inspection would help them in the case. Testimony in the case ended October 16 and final arguments were submitted by October 26.
On November 2, Judge Vance issue a 12-page ruling in favor of Love Stuff. His ruling was based on the assertion that the term "adult-only business" within the state law is "too vague to pass constitutional muster." In particular, the law defines an adult book or video stores as one in which explicit media "in the aggregate constitute substantially all of its stock or inventory." The word "substantial" is not defined within the law, which led Vance to rule that, "No guidance is given as to where to draw the line." Due to the judge's ruling regarding the law's vagueness, the City of Hoover did not appeal the decision.
|1568 Montgomery Highway
- "Hoover files lawsuit against Love Stuff shop over state law". Burt and Kurt's Show Notes. Accessed October 12, 2007.
- Cason, Mike. (October 10, 2007). "Hoover argues against Love Stuff." The Birmingham News.
- Cason, Mike. (October 12, 2007). "Judge visits store city says breaks anti-obscenity law." The Birmingham News.
- Cason, Mike. (October 19, 2007). "Testimony ends in Love Stuff trial." The Birmingham News.
- "Judge rules Love Stuff store in Hoover can stay open" . (November 2, 2007). Breaking News from The Birmingham News. Accessed November 5, 2007.
- "Jeffco judge won't close sex toys store in Hoover" . (November 3, 2007). Breaking News from The Huntsville Times. Accessed November 5, 2007.
- Cason, Mike. (November 12, 2007). "Love Stuff store's win may mean stricter law." The Birmingham News.
- Nancy's Nook presents Love Stuff official web site