Craig Attebury launched his retail shop, GayMart, in 1994 in Laguna Beach, California, and opened another outlet in Wilton Manors in 1997, just as now-legendary gay bar Georgie's Alibi started getting popular. "The plaza was quite empty back then," he remembers.
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In the intervening years, Wilton Manors and the surrounding area grew into a safe, family-friendly gayborhood, with no shortage of businesses with double-entendres such as the Painted Pickle, Humpy's Pizza, Bill's Filling Station, and Dairy Queen.
"We always thought GayMart was a cute name," he says, but it drew discrimination. He sells menswear and clubwear -- much of it itty-bitty and made of spandex -- but "a few suppliers would not ship to us because of the name," Attebury says. "I'd place the order and wait and wait and wait." Eventually, wholesalers would admit: "We don't want to sell to a store like that."More »