There's an impressive range of cock rings hanging on the left when you enter New Eros Newsstand and Theater from South Tejon Street.
To the right, jars of liquid incense await customers inside a display case. (They contain isobutyl nitrite, which is apparently an aphrodisiac that can dilate blood vessels when it's inhaled.)
Beyond, there's a spread of erotic DVDs and magazines, and then an "arcade" of private viewing screens leading to the back entrance, which is used by a slow but steady stream of customers on this Monday afternoon.
Despite the titillating environment, Joshua Jiron, the 23-year-old clerk, manages to appear both content and bored as he sits at the cash register and periodically scans surveillance images from eight different cameras.
"I'm not into porn," he says. "I just work here."
The adult complex at 519 S. Tejon St. has been a staple since at least the early 1970s. Its modern business model is simple: You can shop or, for $6, take in continuous adult movies from 9 a.m. to midnight.
At about 4:30 p.m. Monday, the final credits roll on one such film. Jiron, who estimates about a dozen men watching, reaches for the next title in a series dictated by the shop's corporate office, and places it in a DVD player.
"It's time for Teen Tramps," he says.
With its entrance in back and muted signs out front, New Eros is inconspicuous as adult businesses go. But more and more, it's an anomaly amid all the mainstream businesses in the surrounding "SoDo," or South Downtown neighborhood. Across the street, Southside Johnny's and the Coffee Exchange stay busy, as does Computer Resources. A Mama Trino's pizza place is about move in to its new location across the street.
Simon Penner, an owner of the Colorado Springs location of Sportique Scooters, just bought the building that holds New Eros, a promotions business to the north and two empty storefronts. Later this summer, according to plans, Sportique will move from East Pikes Peak Avenue into one of those locations.
With high gas prices, the scooter business is booming, and Penner expects more visibility will help.
Penner grows quiet when asked about New Eros, his new tenant and future neighbor. They pay good rent, he says, declining to discuss details of the business' future.
The local business license for New Eros is held by Mitchell Kelloff Theatres, but neither Kelloff nor his theater company could be reached for comment; phones for both had been disconnected. A man named Vern, reportedly the store manager, declined to talk about the business. Jiron says the only detail he knows about the store owners is that they are out of state.
For now, New Eros is a sort of time capsule on South Tejon. Most neighbors don't seem to mind.
Rich Guy, owner of Computer Resources and much surrounding real estate, takes the bright view that there are two movie theaters downtown.
"That's the second theater," he says.
Al Garcia is an assistant manager at the Mama Trino's moving in just up the block. He says he's not bothered by the theater, which largely manages to escape notice even in plain view.
What's more, he says, at his old South Nevada Avenue location, pizza orders have come in from the theater.
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