The Book Ranch doesn’t sell books

Walking into the storefront on 730 S. College Ave., you realize it’s not like any other retail establishment.

The Book Ranch, located on South College Avenue, is loaded with a variety of pleasurable merchandise (toys, videos, props) that suit all spectrums of sexual desire.
The Book Ranch, located on South College Avenue, is loaded with a variety of pleasurable merchandise (toys, videos, props) that suit all spectrums of sexual desire.

Hand sanitizer sits on the counter with a smiley face named Oswald. Posters line the walls with scantily-clad women. A Northern Colorado AIDS project advertisement hangs on the wall. Phallic shaped items are on sale.

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Welcome to the Book Ranch, an adult emporium, sitting right across from CSU’s campus since 1964. With its bright turquoise sign labeled “The Book Ranch,” and deserted parking lot, one might not presume what goes on inside.

“It’s like any other retail job,” said the Book Ranch manager Jake Bonse. “You probably get weirder stories at McDonald’s than here, honestly.”

Sebbi Garcia, who has been working there for three months, started working there for the good stories to tell.

“I came in for a deck of cards and I saw they were hiring,” Garcia said.

The main feature of The Book Ranch is the 24-hour video arcade in the back, which is made up of 12 rooms with a pay-per-view system like that of an arcade. According to Garcia, this is where they get most of their income.

“They just show adult films, and, you know, everyone does their business back there,” Garcia said.

When it comes to the clientele, Garcia said it ranges from college students walking home after a night at the bars, couples hoping to spice up their life, or older men who are not skilled at internet searches.

“Every kind of person goes in there — the Book Ranch doesn’t discriminate,” said Tyler Stup, journalism and sociology sophomore, who lives in the apartment complex across the street.

At any given time, there could be a number of people coming in and out. When old men stick around to look at the female collegiates, Garcia said they have to kick them out from time to time.

One must be 18 years old before entering, but there will be the occasional giggling teenager.

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“I had a group of ten year olds on their bikes when the door was open and they were trying to stick their heads in,” Garcia said.

Stup noted that the parking lot is empty for the majority of the time.

“The thing I noticed about living across from The Book Ranch is that no one actually parks there because they park across the street at my house,” Stup said. “No one is ashamed to shop there, but everyone’s ashamed to park there.”

Even though adult stores have been around awhile, there is still something taboo and embarrassing about the subject for some.

“This place will be hoppin’ and no one is in the parking lot,” Garcia said. “They slink in here with their hoods up.”

Doctor John’s Lingerie, which has been around for 13 years, is the one of the only other adult stores in town.

Victoria Wilson, who works at Doctor John’s, said that The Book Ranch caters to a different clientele than their lingerie establishment because of their viewing booths and arcades.

“We get a lot of customers that have been to both,” Wilson said. “When they compare the two stores, they usually refer to ours as the classier version.”

Doctor John’s sells adult DVDs, but does not allow customers to view them in the establishment.

According to sales associate, Neil Nalangone, from a Boulder adult store called Fascinations, there is no adult video arcade establishment in Boulder.

 “I think there might have been one in Boulder, but it got shut down,” Nalangone said. “I mean, the arcades are legal, but cutting a hole in the side of the door isn’t.”

There have been mentions of holes in the walls at the Book Ranch, but it is a grey area.

“It’s kind of on the edge, what’s legal here and what’s not,” Garcia said.

She mentioned stories of one particular patron coming in to the Ranch to lick up the floor after others had used the booths. Once figured out, this patron was banned from the store, but employees still dread cleaning up the rooms after use.

“I’ve heard that the insulation isn’t very good…you can hear the people in there, which strikes me as kind of creepy, personally,” Wilson said.

Nicky and Donald Martens, neighbors of The Book Ranch, only noticed the benefits of having a 24-hour adult bookstore right next door.

“It’s a great landmark,” Martens said. “Tell people you live right next to The Book Ranch — they’ll know exactly where you are.”

Martens said whenever the couple has a party, there will always be an inevitable trip to check the place out for those who have not been before. Other than the occasional pornographic magazine found in the bushes or adult toy thrown over the fence, the Martens like their neighbors.

“I think if anything it just lowers our rent, which is nice,” Martens said.  “It’s nice to have someone there 24 hours.”

Collegian Diversity Beat Reporter Hannah Hemperly can be reached at news@collegian.com.