After 30 years, sex shop chain Lover’s Lane keeps things spicy

For this growing Michigan company, sex sells

Feb 8, 2023 at 4:00 am
click to enlarge Sex shop chain Lover’s Lane recently opened its latest Michigan store in Plymouth.
Sex shop chain Lover’s Lane recently opened its latest Michigan store in Plymouth.

Walk into a Lover’s Lane store these days, and you’ll find plenty of the lingerie the sex shops are known for — along with high heels, dildos, vibrators, ropes, handcuffs, nipple clamps, ball gags, chastity cages, riding crops, and cock rings. The stores also sell greeting cards — and lubrication. “We’re lube central,” co-founder and vice president Michael Allmond says. “We sell a shitload of lube.”

In recent years, Lover’s Lane has expanded into offering products like smartphone-controlled sex toys.

“High-tech’s where it’s at right now, baby!” Allmond says. “You know, you and your lover can be on two sides of the world, and he’s controlling your toy, or she’s controlling your toy. We’ve got toys for boys and toys for girls.”

The Plymouth-based chain celebrated its 30th anniversary in December, and Allmond says much has changed since the company opened its first store.

“When we opened, there were still all the peep shops with adult videos and viewing booths all over the place,” he says. “So we were an anomaly.” While other sex shops could have “dirty” reputations, Allmond says, Lover’s Lane aimed to normalize the experience by opening well-lit stores in suburban shopping malls.

Allmond says he was inspired by his sister, who had spent a decade hosting home lingerie parties where women could buy sexy underwear in the comfort of their own homes. The first Lover’s Lane store opened at Ford and Wayne Roads in Westland, and within a year the company added locations in Roseville and Pontiac.

“We never looked back,” Allmond says. “We opened three stores a year for easily a dozen years.”

He says the chain now has nearly 40 stores across the Midwest, with the Chicago area serving as its largest market and metro Detroit the second-largest. In 2021, Lover’s Lane expanded into the Cleveland market, acquiring a similar chain called Ambiance.

Allmond says over the years, the company has faced plenty of opposition when it opened new stores, though he says its most recent Plymouth location got the least amount of pushback. (The chain closed its original Westland store last year when it opened the nearby Plymouth store; its distribution center and corporate headquarters are also in Plymouth.)

“A lot of people want to put us into the bucket that we’re an adult store,” Allmond says. “We don’t generally meet the threshold of being an adult store. We don’t sell or rent pornography.”

It probably also helps that the store has marketed itself over the years with the wholesome-sounding motto “couples that play together stay together,” shortened in recent years to “play together, stay together.”

Allmond says he sees the company’s sales floor staff as not just salespeople but couples counselors.

“Their job title is ‘romance specialist,’ so they’re trained in how to listen to customers,” he says. “We hear more than a doctor will hear most of the time, when it comes to issues, or problems, or how-tos. A lot of things we do help our customers with their relationships.”

He adds, “We pride ourselves on that they’re very approachable. They listen and they direct you to what you need, or what you’re trying to achieve.”

Allmond says that the company has benefited from various pop culture moments throughout the years, including media that discuss sexual topics like Sex and the City and 50 Shades of Grey. “I mean, you couldn’t walk through an airport and go by a newsstand without seeing a pile of those books,” Allmond says. “That really lit up our sales.”

He adds, “People are more open-minded now.”

During the business shutdowns spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company used the downtime as an opportunity to update its online shopping experience and implement a curbside pickup system, which customers have appreciated for its convenience and privacy.

“It cost us a lot, but it really pays dividends,” Allmond says. He adds that the company has enjoyed steady growth in the aftermath of the pandemic.

“People are getting back in tune with their relationships,” he says. “People are traveling less, dining out less. COVID gave very few options for entertainment. We became benefactors of that.”

Allmond says that sales tend to be driven by holidays (“like Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Sweetest Day, even a little bit of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, birthdays, and anniversaries,” he says), and the lingerie displayed on mannequins in the stores’ windows is updated each season to keep things fresh. The company is also on constant lookout for the latest trends.

“Now that we’re 30 years old, it’s a struggle to keep it fresh, just like any relationship!” he says. “We’re doing our best.”

Allmond says the stores are also a favorite destination for new lovebirds.

“The first time a couple comes to Lover’s Lane, you can tell because they’re giggling,” he says. “It’s a fun environment to experience, especially if it’s your first trip. After a while you get used to it. Your barriers come down, you know the salespeople are approachable.” The company also has a “Frequent Lover” loyalty program that offers discounts and coupons on birthdays and anniversaries.

Allmond says the company offers competitive benefits to its workers, and many tend to stay for many years. Megan Satterfield, a district sales manager who handles the Michigan market, has been with the company for multiple stints since its early years, starting in metro Detroit and eventually moving to the Virgin Islands to help run a former outpost on Saint Thomas. After that store closed, Satterfield knew she wanted to stay with the company.

“When I moved back to Michigan, it was my first call,” she says. “I wanted to come back to a company that I love.”

Satterfield says she first took the job as a young woman because she thought it would be a fun place to work. She says the good the company does has caused her to stay.

“For me personally, I just love the company,” she says. “I love what we stand for. I love the fact that we’re all about love, whether it’s love with a partner, whether it’s love for yourself.”

She says she has seen the culture around talking about sex change since she has started at Lover’s Lane.

“I definitely think that sexual health and wellness is more of a conversation now than it used to be,” she says. “I don’t think that it is taboo, and it’s OK to talk about sexual health and wellness. It’s actually not just OK, but it’s healthy.”

More information is available at

Location Details

Lover's Lane Plymouth

620 Ann Arbor Rd. West, Plymouth Detroit


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