Photo: Unsplash

It looks like a convenience store along the quiet corridor. Walk in and you’ll hear the catchy K-pop tunes playing in the background. You’re drawn to the towering display of neatly stocked shelves between the narrow aisles, and the walls where metal brackets groaned beneath the weight of merchandise, in the well-lit space.

A convenience store, it is not.

Take a closer look at the colourful packaging of adult toys, and you’ll see that this is an adult emporium and showroom.

Located in the heartland, it’s tucked away in a secluded wing on the first level of the grand old dame that is Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre – home to old and new trades from traditional medicinal halls, snack shops and small offices.

With no store signage, this is a departure from the neon-lit adult shops that are usually located at high-rental addresses in downtown locations. Today, a handful of adult showroom-stores can be found in unassuming corners in the heartlands, from Upper Serangoon Road and Paya Lebar to Ubi Crescent.

No Poor Cousin

Photo: Unsplash

The brick-and-mortar showroom-shops display as big a product collection as their web stores, from Bluetooth dildos, app-enabled vibrators to Fleshlights and more, in all shapes, colours and sizes. One can touch, feel and poke (read: squashy silicon toys on display) at the stores before purchase.

Caryl Ang, senior marketing and PR executive for Cherryaffairs.com, which has a showroom-store at Ubi Crescent, tells Her World:

“The downtown areas are quite saturated with adult shops, thus our location away from it. Here, we see mainly couples or guys in their 20s to 40s. Half of the men who visit our shop alone are looking for couple-play merchandise.”

It’s business as usual on a Friday afternoon at the shop with no signage in Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre. A female sales assistant answers a delivery request on the phone, just as a male customer in his 20s strolls in.

Ten minutes in, an attentive staff asks: “Would you like to know more?” He shows you the texture, make, durability and functions – as if you’re shopping for an earpiece in an electronics shop. He proceeds around the shelves to a brightly lit room with pink walls that stocks premium merchandise. The shopping experience is equally friendly at the no-frills Cherryaffairs.com at Ubi

Crescent, where the salesgirl rattles off the functions of the vibrators proficiently. While downtown stores also rely on walk-in sales, the showroom-stores, like Cherryaffairs.com, Onedesire.sg at Burn Road along Upper Paya Lebar, and the store at Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre, let customers book a time slot for private viewing.

Caryl adds: “The showroom-store creates a more reliable experience and privacy for customers. We often have male customers enquiring about female toys, and they learn more about their partners’ pleasure through the face-to-face shopping process.”

This article was first published in the February issue of our magazine.