Secrets of the Doncaster sex shop that's become an unlikely landmark on the A1

Thousands of drivers pass by it each day – a Doncaster sex shop that’s become an unlikely landmark on the A1 north of the town.

Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 10:43 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 11:44 am

But the branch of Pulse and Cocktails at Barnsdale Bar is not the only adult store on the main route linking London and Edinburgh.

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There are seven of the stores in total – leading comedian Alan Carr to pose the question on Twitter: "How horny are the drivers on the A1?"

Pulse and Cocktails near Doncaster.

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Now the BBC has uncovered the secrets from inside the stores – what’s on offer inside, who’s using them – and just why there are so many on the A1.

According to their report, lingerie, handcuffs, synthetic body parts and a £1,500 sex doll are all available to buy at the Doncaster branch.

So why a store in such a prominent roadside location?

Graham Kidd, one of the directors of Pulse & Cocktails, which has been in business for 21 years, said: "The shops are good for a number of reasons. They have good car parking, they are high profile and they are discreet - you're not likely to run into your neighbour inside.

"We can never get away from the fact that we are British and everyone is frightened to death of being seen going into a local adult store, but if they are 100 miles from home they have the confidence to go in."

Situated away from schools and town centres and where people are likely to complain, the store near Doncaster has probably intrigued thousands of drivers as they whizz by.

"When we first opened a roadside shop it was a step into the dark, we did not know what to expect," said Mr Kidd. "People objected in the early days because they did not know what it was going to be. It's not like we are next to schools; our shops are very remote and look very tasteful from the outside.

"I do understand why people talk about us, after all we have taken over a number of old Little Chefs, which was an iconic British brand. The risk has paid off though; they are more popular than our city centre shops."

Sex shops used to be aimed squarely at men, while women bought sex toys at "parties" men were not invited to - opening up a gap in the market, said Mr Kidd. "We felt there was a need for somewhere a couple could go and shop together for toys they could use together," he said.

And the stereotype that the majority of those visiting roadside sex shops are long-distance truckers is also false, with less than 7% of Pulse & Cocktails' clientele falling into this category.

Mr Kidd said the firm's physical stores get far more traffic than its online shop and its biggest sellers are high-end, rechargeable sex toys. Simply put, "people want to see them before they buy them", he said.