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This article was featured in the October 2002 issue of AVN, a monthly publication which reviews the latest adult videos, DVDs, novelties, and Websites; announces future adult releases; interviews top stars in the adult field and follows trends, products and new technologies.


SAN FRANCISCO - The Galleri opened its doors less than six months ago, but it has already captured an audience in the Bay Area by focusing its entire business on adult DVDs.

Click here to see article   The immaculate store carries about 10,000 DVDs at any given time in its 3,000 squarefoot space near the San Francisco International Airport. There are no toys, novelties, or VHS tapes at the Galleri.

   "We're the lone ranger in that respect," General Manager Bart Boggess, AKA "Porno Pro," tells AVN. "We kind of stayed with the DVD idea because it was just really simple. VHS is bulky and it's big. And quite honestly, it's definately a little more costly so the profit margin is much better with digital stuff."

   The roots of the Galleri can be traced back to Laser City, a retail home electronics store located in the same warehouse that had a tiny adult DVD section separated by a curtain before the Galleri was born. Koung and Milee Wong, who own WAV Entertainment, the parent company for both stores, spared no expense in purchasing luxurious carpeting and a sophisticated lighting system for the Galleri, creating an upscale atmosphere to enhance the buying experience.

   Galleri Designer Kerry Wong, Koung and Milee's son, calls the store "a niche within a niche." Kerry says attention to details such as the space between aisles was important in the layout.

   "We have five to six feet between every aisle rather than three feet," he points out.

   Ed Villa-Carlos, marketing and sales manager, tells AVN their vision is to be "the Nordstrom's of adult."

Click here to see article   "We wanted to be different. And we were brainstorming back and forth and we came up with a fairly upscale design so that when people come in it's not like coming into a porno shop," Villa-Carlos says. "Aesthetically, it's like a hotel lobby with a little class to it. It's not like they're walking into a flea market.

   "They don't feel sleazy. It allows someone to fulfill their personal fantasy in a classy environment. We pushed the term 'upscale.' It's a jawdropping experience for some of them. We get 'oohs' and 'ahhs' before they even start shopping."

   Indeed, at first glance the Galleri resembles a nice Yuppie-catering bookstore such as Barnes & Noble. Modern art from local talent adorns the walls. A large leather couch sits in front of a home theater system that plays looping trailers or hot new features. On one afternoon in mid-August, Boggess played Andrew Blake's The Villa on the big screen. There's also a 50-disc CD changer located next to the cashier in which customers may play their own music while shopping.

   "The whole concept behind the Galleri was really just to keep it clean and keep it comfortable," Boggess says. "I personally have never gotten a good feeling going into any adult bookstore in the Bay Area. Just because of a lot of variable reasons, ones that we thought we could probably resolve just in keeping the lighting relatively high and giving it more of an art gallery kind of feel more so than porn shop."

   And Boggess says the customer feedback has been nothing short of "phenomenal."

   "We've had a lot of people who have commented solely because it's an entirely different environment than they've been buying adult materials in," Boggess adds.

   Kerry Wong says the store benefits from a strong Asian presence, primarily due to the overflow of traffic from Laser City.

   "Asians are less likely to talk about it with their family, but some of them will spend quite a bit. They might start out going for the $5.99's but they turn out to be your biggest customers."

   Although it began doing business in April, the Galleri heavily promoted its official grand opening June 1 by inviting Vivid girl Taylor Hayes to the store for an autograph session that was attended by several hundred. And the Galleri has made a strong marketing push aside from that, advertising in local newspapers such as The San Francisco Bay Guardian and San Francisco Weekly. It has also bought radio spots on the Howard Stern Show, and on Aug. 2 sent out its first official newsletter via e-mail to a group of VIP customers.

   Galleri, which also sells DVD players, boasts an easy-to-navigate Website, which Kerry designed. The site provides comprehensive directions to the store, lists new releases and details promotions such as "Featured Star of the Month." The store offered 10 percent off Jenna Haze's titles in August and previously featured Vivid girls Briana Banks and Hayes.

   Galleri also has a retail Website, where it sells adult DVDs.

- Dan Miller

posted with permission from AVN

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