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Valley Vixen’s education-focused sex shop closing in Wolfville

Valley Vixen co-owner Tessa Janes pictured outside of the Wolfville-based education and consent-focused sex shop.
Valley Vixen co-owner Tessa Janes pictured outside of the Wolfville-based education and consent-focused sex shop. - Chris Saulnier

The education piece, however, could continue

WOLFVILLE - Valley Vixen is closing the retail side of its business but hopes to keep its education aspect alive, and remain a resource for the Annapolis Valley.

The education and consent-focused sex shop and bookstore will close its storefront at 3 Elm Avenue June 16. Tessa Janes, Acadia University graduate and Valley Vixen co-owner, says the closure is due to difficulties the business had in reaching a financial agreement with its bank.

The store’s closure comes after it marked one year in business. While she’s sad to see her business close, Janes says she’s even more sad to see the community at large lose a valuable resource for sex education.

“We’ve always considered ourselves an educational entity first, and a retail entity second,” says Janes.

“We’re sad to have to shut it down and deprive the community at large of a resource that’s sorely needed.”

A new focus

Janes’ new goal is to maintain the educational aspect of her business in Wolfville by continuing to provide businesses, institutions, and organizations like the Valley Youth Project with educational workshops on various topics related to sexual health, gender identity and sexuality, romantic relationships, and intersectional feminism.

And while it may not be how it was before, she says she’ll still be happy providing the community with what education she can.

“We’ll basically have to build it from the ground up, so it may not be immediate, if it happens at all,” says Janes.

“We want to be relaying other community groups and their resources, and things that are coming from the government... that might be of interest to people in the area.”

Janes will start looking for a smaller office space later this summer and encourages people to follow Valley Vixen’s social media accounts and newsletters for updates.

Reason for closing

Janes says that while her business faced the usual market ups and downs that most luxury retail businesses do, the closure isn’t entirely financially motivated.

“It came down to bureaucracy,” says Janes.

“Despite having previous agreements in place, we were put in a position to renegotiate and couldn’t come to an agreement, so we are forced to close.”

Janes says most banks have a flat, no appeal policy of not working with the adult industry, which is why she had such a hard time finding a bank when first opening. She says this is why she had nothing to fall back on when she ran into troubles this time around.

“Businesses can have options – they can go to other banks, or they can call on government assistance, or they can work with organizations like the CBDC – those options weren’t available to us,” says Janes.

Janes adds that her shop received tremendous support from the Town of Wolfville, other local businesses, and the general community.

“The community support has been fabulous,” says Janes. “We’ve received nothing but positivity for the work that we did, and we deeply appreciate all of it.”

Former employee Katie Redmond says it was more than a job for her; it was a place that allowed her to open up and learn more about herself, her sexuality, and the wants, needs, and struggles of others in areas such as sex, race and feminism.

“It was a safe space for everyone in the community,” says Redmond.

“Even when I wasn’t working, I would just go to the shop when I was seeking a sense of belonging and comfort.”

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