Gay Wedding Gifts from GayMart
Jose Antonio Navas via Flickr cc
Craig Attebury launched his retail shop, GayMart, in 1994 in Laguna Beach, California, and opened another outlet in Wilton Manors in 1997, just as now-legendary gay bar Georgie's Alibi started getting popular. "The plaza was quite empty back then," he remembers.
In the intervening years, Wilton Manors and the surrounding area grew into a safe, family-friendly gayborhood, with no shortage of businesses with double-entendres such as the Painted Pickle, Humpy's Pizza, Bill's Filling Station, and Dairy Queen.
"We always thought GayMart was a cute name," he says, but it drew discrimination. He sells menswear and clubwear -- much of it itty-bitty and made of spandex -- but "a few suppliers would not ship to us because of the name," Attebury says. "I'd place the order and wait and wait and wait." Eventually, wholesalers would admit: "We don't want to sell to a store like that."
Over the years, he says, he's experienced bigots drive by and yell derogatory comments, and "I still get kids calling on the phone: 'Is your name GayMart? Tee hee hee!' -- but it's a lot less now."
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He's opened and sold locations in other gay hot spots, including Los Angeles, Santa Monica, South Beach, Fire Island, and Provincetown, and still owns a shop in Palm Springs, California. Last year, he sold a nightclub, Boom in Wilton Manors -- it's now called Hunters.
With gay marriage set to proceed in Florida on Tuesday, Attebury reflects that "we came a long way in a relatively short amount of time, compared to other civil rights movements."
At the request of New Times, he offered some suggestions for gay wedding gifts from his shop:
3. His-and-his swimsuits:
The Andrew Christian phys ed varsity trunk features "show-it technology" says Atteboro of the $41 swimsuit. Andrew Christian is his hottest-selling brand, and even lesbians are into it. The designs are "right on the gender line," he explains. "Girls wear them a little butcher; guys wear them more feminine."
2. Matching underwear:
"The Andrew Christian retro pop reveal boxer has an open front keyhole feature," Atteboro explains. They're $18 apiece.
1. Gun Oil lube:
For the newlyweds! Bottles start at $5, but you may want to spring for the $30, 32-ounce size for a very happy couple.
The store also sells wedding cards.
GayMart is located at the Shoppes of Wilton Manors, 2240 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors. Call 954-630-0360. There's no online store.
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