The Love Library

After failing to get a business license from the city of Rome, The Love Library Express, planned for 404 Tribune Street, is abandoning plans to open a storefront on Tribune Street downtown. / John Popham

After failing to get a business license from the city of Rome, The Love Library Express is abandoning plans to open a storefront on Tribune Street downtown.

The store was to be a spin-off of The Love Library on Shorter Avenue in Coosa, which offers items ranging from massagers, lubes and oils to lingerie, DVDs and novelty items.

However, the Rome City Commission quickly enacted an ordinance governing sexually-oriented businesses in a series of special called meetings.

Drew Haynes, general manager of The Love Library, said city officials intentionally put barriers in the way of his planned expansion. The company hired an attorney but ultimately decided not to file suit.

“It would have just made more sense to me to let the people of Rome decide if they wanted the business or not,” Haynes wrote in a Thursday evening press release announcing the decision. “If Rome citizens didn’t approve of my store, then they wouldn’t shop, and the business would not have been profitable.”

He said his merchandise is similar to what is sold at other Rome stores such as Spencer’s Gifts, Victoria’s Secret, Walmart and CVS, and he would continue to look for a second location.

Under the new ordinance adopted Feb. 19, the owner and employees of a sexually-oriented business must get special licenses, similar to the alcohol permits the city requires.

The license fees are set at $100 for a business, going to $50 for annual renewals; and $50 for an employee, dropping to $25 for renewals. Hours of operation are limited to between 6 a.m. and midnight.

Sexually-oriented businesses must be at least 750 feet from a school, church or daycare and at least 300 feet from an establishment that serves alcohol.