Leather products and espresso drinks might sound like an unusual combination, but it makes perfect sense to the owners of Twin Cities Leather & Latte, opening at 2717 Hennepin Ave. S. in late September.
The GLBT-focused retailer is working to create a space where everyone feels welcome and comfortable enough to talk about sex.
“We all do it, so we might as well talk about it,” said co-owner Luke Wallrich. “There are some bars where you can do that, but not everybody drinks, and not everybody is old enough to go to a bar. … There are safe ways and unsafe ways to do things. Part of our business is always being willing to talk to someone and help them and teach them.”
The shop has some experience in this area — co-owner Greg Wisa writes an award-winning kink blog and speaks at college campuses about safe sex and how to be “kinky safe.”
The coffee house will feature drinks like honey lattes and Angry Fox hot chocolate made with Aztec spice recipes. Roastery 7 is creating a Leather & Latte coffee/espresso blend with a dark-roasted, rich flavor aiming to reflect the nature and tradition of the leather community.
In addition to the café, the store will provide retail space for products like leather bondage straps and lubricants. Co-owner Karri Plowman is a leather worker by trade, and offers custom fits and orders.
The company launched in December, and it was previously based in a commercial building in Loring Park. When the Loring Park building was offered for sale, the owners decided it was time to grow.
A recent Kickstarter campaign raised more than $15,000 for the renovation and store equipment.
“We’re not the average Downtown sex store,” Wallrich said. “The idea of the boutique is that it’s bright, open and airy.”