In the back corner of Dixieland, right next to the bathrooms, there's a room that once couldn't keep a business. Vendors would move in and out, unable to make the space work. Until Barb Shefflin LeVine came along.
A manufacturers' rep turned sex shop operator. Shefflin-LeVine moved into her Dixieland space 15 years ago, eventually expanding from one room to two because of her popularity.
She used to visit Dixieland to sell her samples, and noticed the back room that vendors couldn't seem to hold down. She had a realization: Put an "Adults Only" sign over the room and of course people would stop in.
When she originally pitched her shop to Goldberg, Shefflin-LeVine said the Dixieland manager was persistent, calling her every few weeks to remind her of the open spot.
"Joe is a good manager for a reason and one of them is because he's persistent and he really stayed in touch with me," Shefflin-LeVine said. "He would call me every two weeks an say to me, 'when are you moving in?'"
After some reasearch and some reassurance that her son and husband were OK with her plan, Shefflin-LeVine opened Passion Avenue, Dixieland's only erotica shop. Shefflin-LeVine's shop is curtained off from the rest of the market, granting both discretion and expert advice for those who enter.
In the News...
Shefflin-LeVine didn't know that she was doing at fires; she said, but she quickly immersed herself in her new world, learning what she needed to know to keep customers coming back. She has now written a short book, and keeps up a website and blog along with a comic strip revolving around the misadventures of a penis named, well, Dick.
While sex toys and intimacy answers are available across the internet, Shefflin-LeVine thinks it's the personal touch that keeps shops like hers alive. Her sales experience means she does her research and buys from what she considers the best vendors.
And when she talks about sex toys or aids she's both straightforward and personable in a way Google could never be -- there's no blushing or beating around the bush with Dr. Barb. She knows many of the customers who come in by name; she lives this job, she said.
I can't begin to tell you how man people are referred to me," Shefflin-LeVine said, "I mean, people come in and say, 'my neighbor told me to come and see you and said that I can talk to you, that you're not going to make me feel uncomfortable.' And that makes me feel good about myself ...if you're going to do something, do it right."
The Dixieland Flea Market
The Dixieland Flea Market is a great place to visit. It is open year round - with over 200 vendors, and the Dixieland Flea Market is a landmark in Waterford Township. It's a magical place where you can spend the day shopping (everything from adults toys to antiques to the farmer's market to tools and everything in between), selling (host your own garage sale), looking for treasures, eating delicious food (Italian, Mexican, American and Asian), and enjoying great entertainment!
The Dixieland Flea Market
2045 Dixie Hwy; Waterford, MI 48328
(Located at the corner of Telegraph and Dixie Highway)
What Are You Waiting For?
Everything's Always On Sale at Dixieland!
It's more than a destination. It's an adventure.
HOURS: Friday: 4 - 9 pm Saturday/Sunday: 10 am - 6 pm
*Holiday hours may vary