Cobb County records show that the registered agent for a company planning a retail store at 1290 Johnson Ferry Road is also the agent for the parent company of Tokyo Valentino, an Atlanta-based chain of adult stores.
East Cobb News reports that Michael Morrison, longtime owner of Tokyo Valentino, is an agent for both companies, but that he denies plans to open an East Cobb location.
“Why do people keep asking me about this? I already have a store in Marietta,” Morrison said Tuesday to The Marietta Daily Journal. “I appreciate the publicity but sadly this is not my store.”
When the Daily Journal reporter pointed out to Morrison that his name was on the business documents, he answered “that sure is news to me.” He later backtracked and said his company “apparently” was planning a music and clothing store but was reconsidering its options because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The neighbors aren’t buying Morrison’s story. By Tuesday afternoon, nearly 1,700 people had signed an online petition opposing a Tokyo Valentino at that location.
“While there may be the legal right to open this location, hiding the true business would lead one to believe that they know it would be a problem,” the petition read. It added that the expected sex shop would be less than a mile from Johnson Ferry Baptist Church and practically next door to Mount Bethel Elementary School, describing the store as “an open invitation for child predators.”
“It is as bad as the coronavirus. It would spread,” said Dee Thomas, a grandmother of three who lives in East Cobb, to Channel 2 Action News.
“This guy (Morrison) definitely appears to be a master of loopholes and zoning,” East Cobb resident Lisa Simms said to Action News.
On Monday morning, East Cobb Commissioner Bob Ott emailed his constituents about a business coming to Johnson Ferry Road while not specifically naming Tokyo Valentino. Ott wrote that he’d received more than 500 emails and was “looking at every aspect of this business.”
By Tuesday, area residents were speaking against the sex shop at a meeting of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners.
One resident, Hill Wright, told commissioners that Tokyo Valentino has faked its way into locations before, pretending to sell dance wear before revealing its true motives, according to The Marietta Daily Journal.
“Expect to get 5,000 emails and phone calls unless there’s action,” Wright told the commissioners.
Tokyo Valentino has stores throughout the metropolitan area, including locations in Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Marietta and Duluth.
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